A pioneering Summer camp, designed to give 14- to 16-year-olds a taste of a career in manufacturing, has been pronounced a resounding success by participants and the companies hosting them.
The programme is the brainchild of Work-wise, the South Yorkshire-based independent initiative that provides quality work placements for young people.
Around 50 young people are taking part in the two-week initiative, which is being part-funded by their parents and backed by leading local engineering and advanced manufacturing firms. One youngster has even travelled from the east coast to take part in the summer camp.
Vincent Middleton, chairman of Newburgh Engineering, one of the companies involved in the initiative, said: “With the work-wise summer camp well under way, and the programme secured for many years to come, it is a great joy to see young people getting an understanding of the world of work and potentially identifying their future careers.”
Tamara Baker, aged 14, from Dinnington Comprehensive, who spent her Summer camp with Advanced Manufacturing (Sheffield), summed up the youngsters’ feelings.
“It’s a really good experience, it does help and it’s fun – I had thought it would all be very serious!” says Tamara, who is the only girl in the engineering class at her school.
Jake Lindley, 15, who was at MTL, said: “I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it, but my mum wanted me to do it. I’m so glad I did. I sort of knew what I wanted to do but didn’t know how to get there. Now I do.”
Young people taking part in the programme spend their first day at the Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield, finding out about the history of manufacturing in the region, the careers that are available and health and safety issues.
On the second day, they get a chance to find out about what industry is going to be like in the future, during a visit to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and Nuclear AMRC.
The youngsters hear about training opportunities, learn about employers expectations and find out how they will be spending their time at one of the local engineering firms taking part.
Although their age might prevent them doing some things, the work experience that follows has been designed to be as hands on as possible and, for those who opt for it, there is a chance of an NVQ in Employability.
Best of all, companies have guaranteed job interviews to youngsters who successfully complete the Summer camp and go on to achieve the grades and experience needed to work in manufacturing.
Companies hosting young people taking part in the Work-wise summer camp included Pyronix, Naylor Industries, London & Scandinavian Metallurgical, Gripple, Owen Springs, Advanced Manufacturing (Sheffield) and Newburgh Engineering.
n Parents whose children have been taking part in the summer camp have been asked to make a £100 donation towards the cost of the initiative.
However, to ensure that no-one is excluded, companies have also been funding bursaries for children of families that cannot afford the donation. Hopes are the programme could be expanded to cater for five times as many 14- to 16-year-olds next year.