‘Virtual’ Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2020 announced

After close consultation with schools, manufacturers and partners, the third annual Bradford Manufacturing Weeks initiative will go ahead from 5-16 October 2020.

Led by West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce with primary sponsorship from Barclays, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks is designed to create more inspired, informed and ‘work ready’ applicants into the sector.

Since its launch in 2018, it has created more than 8,000 experiences of manufacturing for the district’s 14-18 year-old students.


Captured at the launch of the very first Bradford Manufacturing Week in 2018 is Nick Garthwaite, founder of Bradford Manufacturing Weeks and Chair of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce with Christeyns apprentices Lauren Bean (L) and Jordan Smith (R).

Captured at the launch of the very first Bradford Manufacturing Week in 2018 is Nick Garthwaite, founder of Bradford Manufacturing Weeks, with Christeyns apprentices Lauren Bean (L) and Jordan Smith (R).


Nick Garthwaite, chair of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and managing director of Bradford-based international chemicals and detergents manufacturer Christeyns, said the Chamber firmly believes it has a model that will work for 2020.

He commented: “Despite the challenges of this year, it is so important that we stimulate our young people. They have had a tough time recently with not being at school and there is some talk of this being the “Covid-19 lost generation” with learning disrupted, exams untaken and work experiences not had.

He continued: “Following online meetings with teachers across the district and correspondence with manufacturers, we know there is an appetite for Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2020. Schools in particular, have expressed a real desire to give students the opportunity to once again learn more about our wonderful world of manufacturing.

“While the fortnight will run outside our normal methods of delivery with no physical meetings, networking or factory visits, we believe we can still make an engaging, educational and informative experience for the district’s young people.”

This year will see the introduction of its first competition asking students to create a Sanistation for use in schools or colleges.

Garthwaite explained: “Given the current interest in all things hygiene, we’re asking students to tap into their inner manufacturer, partner up with their peers and, with the guidance of local manufacturing mentors, design and produce a Sanistation for use by their fellow students.”

“We want to see solutions which include design, functionality, robustness and the creation of something which is fun to use – this will be a perfect demonstration of how IT is a key part of today’s manufacturing research and development and we’re expecting so see highly creative entries with cash prizes including £500 for the winner.“

Other activities as part of Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2020 will include virtual tours of local manufacturing facilities, ‘Meet the Manufacturer’ Q&A sessions, ‘Apprentices Live’ with a panel of apprentices talking about their roles and answering questions posed by students, ‘Manufacturers Live’, and online Barclays Life Skills sessions covering CV writing and interview guidance.

Lee Collinson, head of Barclays Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics, said: “As Bradford Manufacturing Weeks evolves, so too do our ways of inspiring, informing and engaging with students and we’re delighted to see the introduction of a research and development project.”