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COMMENT: Give thanks for the devoted few who are worth so much

John Barber and Co have been committed to GUTS for years.
John Barber and Co have been committed to GUTS for years.
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Is it really eight years?

Kids’ engineering show Get Up To Speed is back on Wednesday April 18 promising to be bigger than ever.

These days it attracts 2,000 youngsters and international sponsors and exhibitors like Rolls Royce and Liberty Speciality Steels.

They pay money and send staff to the event at Magna because they know it’s a great way of enthusing kids about a sector that needs 186,000 newbies a year. Yet it’s a grass roots organisation run by unsung and unrewarded stalwarts like John Barber.

If John and Co hadn’t been committed to the cause, GUTS would have failed long ago.

Instead, it’s one of the most important technology and engineering shows in the North.

Across Sheffield, many people are working for causes that benefit business.

William Beckett and team at the International Trade Forum have a track record of slaving away on a non-mainstream cause, in this case export. We all know it is vital to our prosperity, but the ITF is dedicated to doing something about it. It has run several Master Cutler’s trade missions to countries including Dubai and Canada, with Poland coming up.

Jackie Freeborn in Rotherham is another. She passionately represents women at the Chamber and heads the new Pioneers business group. Meanwhile Mel Kanarek, Chris Dymond and gang at Sheffield Digital have doggedly built an organisation that now speaks for an important, fast-growing sector.

We are so lucky, for without committed people Sheffield would be immeasurably poorer. If you’re in engineering you need to support GUTS to ensure its future for another eight years at least.

And just pray the devoted few never lose their enthusiasm.