Post-event research demonstrates Make It in Manufacturing shines through at the Skills North West Exhibition

The Manufacturing Institute’s ‘Make It’ campaign once again proved a hit with the region’s 14-19 year olds with its fifth appearance at the annual Skills Northwest exhibition held recently in Bolton.

As the largest annual skills and career fair of its type in the region, it attracted over 8,000 students, of whom 65% completed prize draw slips on the Make It stand, demonstrating that the interest in modern manufacturing as a potential career path is certainly alive and well in the region.

The aim of this year’s stand was to promote the positive, exciting, dynamic and rewarding career opportunities available in manufacturing and to overturn the negative perceptions of the sector. It was split into key zones, including Aerospace, Automotive, Careers, Chemicals, Environmental Manufacturing and Nuclear and featured a diverse range of manufacturing partners.

Students were able to speak to professionals from BAE Systems, Chemicals Northwest, Envirolink, Fab Lab, MBDA, McBride, Northwest Aerospace Alliance, Oaktec, Unison Engine Components (GE), URENCO and Vauxhall Motors about qualifications and potential future careers in manufacturing.

Of the nearly 500 young people who completed an interactive online questionnaire on the stand, the Make It area was singled out as either Good (9 %), Very Good (43%) or Excellent (47%). When asked by people manning the stand, “What do you think of the Make It stand?” comments received from the young visitors included, “Great information and advice”, “Really informative with great activities” and “I found the stand very helpful and informative”

The manufacturing partners on the Make It stand were also very complimentary towards the initiative, saying that the Make It stand certainly promoted a very positive image of manufacturing and engineering to the young people that attend the event. They were completely unanimous (99%) that they would like to participate in the event in 2012.

On the Chemicals North West partner stand, pupils were invited to come and experiment with some fantastic plastic by making their own keyrings using a very special material that transforms when mixed with hot water. Participants learned about ‘smart materials’ and their everyday uses and also had the opportunity to talk to the team about the North West’s chemistry industry and the careers opportunities that are available.

The regional heats of the current 2011 Make It in Manufacturing campaign, launched by The Manufacturing Institute in 2006, are continuing, with teams of 13 and 14 year-olds from schools in the North West competing for a place in the summer regional final being held in Blackpool in June.