Enterprising girls get in top gear to make it in industry

Young Liverpool car designers from an all-girls high school drove into first place in a contest to challenge their enterprise and creative skills and switch them on to a career in industry.


A team of 13 and 14 year olds from Archbishop Blanch C of E High School at Mount Vernon won the Merseyside heat of the Make it in Manufacturing Enterprise Challenge, part of The Manufacturing Institute’s campaign to attract new talent into industry.


Jaguar Land Rover was a partner in the event, in which teams from 11 schools set up their own mini car manufacturing company, designing vehicles from family saloons to eco-friendly models and devising a sales and marketing strategy to sell their ideas to the customer.


They then had to justify their plans to a Dragon’s Den style panel made up of industry experts including engineers from the Halewood plant.

This was the first of several North Westheats in the Enterprise Challenge. The winners from each will compete in a grand final early next year.


The Manufacturing Institute’s Make It in Manufacturing campaign (www.makeit.org.uk) aims to promote manufacturing as an exciting and rewarding career destination. It embraces a range of high-profile education and awareness raising activities, all designed to introduce teenagers to the world of modern manufacturing and dispel negative images about dead-end and low-paid jobs.


Says campaign manager Nicola Eagleton: “Firing the imagination of teenagers as they plan their future is no easy task, but crucial if industry is to attract the best new talent. With events such as our Make It Enterprising Challenge we are tackling the negative image of manufacturing head on, and appealing direct to potential young manufacturers while working in partnership with industry.


“The young competitors were asked at the beginning and end of the event whether or not they’d be interested in a career in manufacturing – and the number saying yes leapt from 19 per cent at the start to 62 per cent at the end. It shows that this type of industry-led activity really can change minds through the use of facts rather than out-dated stereotypes.”


A visitor to the event was local MP Maria Eagle who was impressed with what she saw.


She said: “Merseyside is home to highly innovative, world-class companies such as Jaguar Land Rover which continue the region’s long tradition of industrial excellence. Schemes such as the Make It Enterprising Challenge are crucial in ensuring a constant supply of new business talent – and if the skills and creative talents of these youngsters are any guide, the future of manufacturing is in safe hands.”


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