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Women in Manufacturing Event

Posted 8th July 2024

Leeds Manufacturing Festival’s Women in Manufacturing event, held in May at Crawshaw Academy, was designed to provide inspiration and insight into the industry, bringing 160 girls from across the school together with a panel of nine women working in a range of professional roles in West Yorkshire manufacturing businesses.

Taking part were medical equipment manufacturer Brandon Medical’s head of HR and its events co-ordinator, Ingrid Law and Jirawan Sawai; Louise O’Brien, managing director of packaging manufacturer Greyhound Box; Lois Holliday and Debbie Grayson from Leeds Welding Company and Tyra Jones, production planning supervisor at fluid pumps specialist Sulzer Pumps. Trust Electric Heating marketing manager Olivia Hullah; Noor Ali from JK Foods and procurement professional Rebecca Yourell also joined the line-up.

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The panellists discussed the wide variety of careers on offer in manufacturing and engineering, from hands-on tech roles to HR and logistics. The women also talked about their own personal experiences of forging a career in manufacturing and spoke candidly about challenging work situations they had faced and how they had overcome them, as well as recounting stories of success.

A one-to-one ‘speed dating’ session followed the panel discussion, enabling the girls to speak individually to panellists.  "The event worked really well as an all-female environment and the students engaged with all the speakers and were really interested in what we had to say about an industry that I think many of them had known little or nothing about beforehand,” said Louise O’Brien of Greyhound Box, which employs four senior women in its 18-strong team.

Feedback from the students was overwhelmingly positive, with all the girls saying it improved their understanding of manufacturing and 62% saying it had inspired them to consider pursuing a career in the industry.  “I enjoyed finding out about jobs I didn’t know existed and talking to new, nice, inspirational women,” said one student. “I loved the variety of jobs and experiences showcased by each individual. The panel really helped me to reflect and relate with personal life choices – I truly enjoyed it and it made me emotional,” added another.

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Crawshaw Academy is part of Red Kite Learning Trust, a charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 7523507, registered office address: Red Kite Office, Pannal Ash Road, Harrogate, HG2 9PH

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