MI bids to rid ‘oily rag’ image of manufacturing

Posted on 15 May 2009 by The Manufacturer

Hundreds of teenagers have learned that oily rags and dark satanic mills have little relevance to modern manufacturing by setting up their own mini-manufacturing businesses.

Organised by The Manufacturing Institute (TMI), almost 500 young people and 100 teachers have taken part in the ‘Make It Enterprising Challenge’ scheme over the last year and 14 teams of 14 and 15 year olds from North West England have just taken place in the final stage.

In an entrepreneurial challenge set by Robert Wiseman Dairies and Tetra Pak, each team established a mini-manufacturing dairy company for the day and selected job roles including managing director and manufacturing manager finance, sales and marketing managers.

They created a new milk-based product aimed at a customer of their choice – from a baby through to a celebrity – developed a marketing plan and designed their own product packaging. They then built an eye catching and environmentally friendly vehicle to transport their product.

They developed, designed and costed their ideas, built their modern-day milk float from polydrons and constructed 3D products. Finally, they pitched to a panel of business investors comprising ‘dragons’ from Robert McBride and Tetra Pak and companies which had sponsored the qualifying heats.

Following the event, 60 per cent of those who had taken part said they would consider a career in the manufacturing industry and 11 per cent said that route had become their first choice.

“The recession is making young people think differently about future careers and many are now considering opportunities in manufacturing and engineering which they see as contributing something real and tangible to the economy,” said Nicola Eagleton-Crowther, Make It Campaign Manager for The Manufacturing Institute. “Although the current job market is exceptionally difficult, there is need to look forward and think about how we bring in the brightest young people for the future.

“The Manufacturing Institute’s Make It in Manufacturing campaign is backed by many successful manufacturing businesses and embraces a range of high-profile education and awareness raising activities, all designed to introduce teenagers to the real and exciting opportunities of modern manufacturing.”

The competition’s sponsors included Aircelle, BAE Systems, C-TEC, Jaguar Land Rover and McBride.