On Thursday 18th March, Paul Norman Plastics exhibited at the Festomane Apprenticeship and Careers Show to promote careers in science and engineering. Traditionally aimed at 10 to 11-year-olds, this particular event was held at the University of Gloucestershire and open to students aged 14 years and above, who are currently looking at options for further education. The free event looked to demonstrate the breadth of possibilities that a career in manufacturing and engineering can offer, with numerous local employers invited to set up a stall.
Festomane cites predicted continuation of growth in UK manufacturing and engineering, coupled with a potential shortfall of 182,000 skilled people every year until 2022 as its raison d’être. By connecting local businesses with students in the area, Festomane aims to inspire the next generation of engineers by creating a direct conversation between employer and potential employee. Such is the interest in encouraging young people to take up careers in the sector, the event attracted visits from local Members of Parliament and the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills.
Other exhibitors on the day included Sartorius, Ecotricity, Delphi Diesel Systems, Renishaw and GE Aviation, the event organisers clearly drawing on the wealth of engineering, manufacturing and cyber companies based in Gloucestershire. Over the course of three hours, students and their parents were invited to learn about the work that these local businesses are doing, and the careers on offer, with additional workshops held throughout the evening on the subjects of employability skills, managing finances while studying and university vs. apprenticeships.
Representing plastic injection moulding and UK manufacturing, PNP set up a stall that showcased the broad variety of work that we produce, hopefully sparking interest in the plastics industry and highlighting the engineering behind the products people use on a daily basis. Displaying samples from our own brands including Wedge Whiteboards, Game Guard and PNP Railways, as well as projects that we have worked on with our trade customers, the stand attracted a good deal of interest over the course of the evening.
Engaging with the students, explaining what we do and answering their questions was a great opportunity to help Festomane in their mission to encourage the engineers of the future. It was heartening to see so many young people considering careers in engineering and manufacturing, and many local employers keen to inspire them.
Choosing a career path as a teenager can be a daunting prospect. Speaking face-to-face with people already working in the industry is a great way to gain insight from people who have already made those decisions for themselves. Events like Festomane play a crucial role in showing young people the options available to them and helping them to make the right decision for their future. Hopefully the continued efforts of Festomane and the businesses who support them will ensure that UK manufacturing continues to grow for many years to come.