Fast lane to success for the next generation

Nicola Minichiello
Nicola Minichiello

South Yorkshire’s young people will join Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to get up to speed with engineering and manufacturing at the Global Manufacturing Festival: Sheffield.

Get up to Speed, sponsored by TATA Steel and organised by Business and Education South Yorkshire, will be open to the public on Thursday March 17 at the award-winning Blue Shed at Ekspan on Brightside Lane from 12noon-3pm. The main event for families, young people and teachers only will be between 4-7.30pm to provide them with an exclusive chance to learn about the career opportunities in such an important sector.

The event is an rare opportunity to see some of the fastest vehicles and people on earth including the Bloodhound Project - the ultimate land speed record car; record breaker and entrepreneur Richard Noble OBE; the Marussia Virgin Formula 1 Show car; Nicola Minichiello - women’s bobsleigh world champion; and Russ Danzey – Sheffield’s next generation of racing driver.

Visitors can learn about how these speed sensations have become so successful and the fundamental role that design, engineering and manufacturing have played in that success through inspirational speeches and hands on activities such as vehicle design, F1 driving simulators, wheel changes and much more. There will also be an opportunity to talk to many leading manufacturing and engineering businesses, including their apprentices, about career paths, skills and qualifications.

Nicola Minichiello, Women’s World Bobsleigh Champion and cofounder of Team Active Fun Ltd, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people to learn new and exciting things about engineering. I’m delighted to be able offer first hand experience into the role engineering played in developing my sled and how important engineering design and innovation is to my bobsleigh achievements.”

Visitors will be surprised just how many of these world-renowned projects couldn’t have happened without the innovation, design, engineering and manufacturing talent based in the Sheffield region. But the city’s businesses have acknowledged that, for Sheffield to continue to be at the cutting edge of innovation and design in engineering and manufacturing, the sector needs to rally together to inspire the next generation.

Mick Hood, HR Manager at TATA Steel Speciality, said: “Engineers and technologists are critical to modern life but with the number of students choosing to study these subjects dwindling, it’s vital we do everything we can to enthuse and inspire young people through events like this. The Get up to Speed event focuses on innovation, manufacturing and engineering excellence which are all critical to Tata Steel.

“Our products have extremely high technical and chemical specifications and are used in everything from the landing gear of the largest and most advanced aircraft to drilling components used deep in the ocean floor.

“We are excited and proud to sponsor an event designed to bring together the very best in terms of innovation, design and the part being played by young trainees and apprentices in the wider city region.”

The event will be hosted by Ekspan who are global manufacturers in their own right. Matthew Dronfield, Chief Executive at Ekspan, said: “Ekspan are delighted to act as hosts for Get Up to Speed – this key event in the city region’s Global Manufacturing Festival.

“Sheffield is internationally recognised for its design and manufacturing prowess - and as structural engineering specialists Ekspan’s workforce draws from a wide skill base of design and engineering skills.

“For us, illustrating the opportunities’ available to the next generation is not only of key interest to us as a company, but also as part of our long term commitment to the development of the city’s workforce. In this difficult economic climate, it falls to businesses to step forward to support innovative and creative solutions at grass roots level - and share the responsibility of securing skilled and educated employees for the future.

“As a company we are passionate about what the city and its manufacturers offer and we are looking forward to presenting those opportunities, alongside other industry leaders and offer young people a fresh perspective on what their future can hold.”

The Global Manufacturing Festival: Sheffield, in association with the Financial Times, The Manufacturer and EEF, takes place between March 14-24. It is is sponsored by Nabarro LLP and Firth Rixson.

For more information, visit www.globalmanufacturingfestival.com