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Supporting Leeds Manufacturing Festival 2022 and helping young people discover a rewarding career in engineering.

Earlier this week we paid a visit to the launch of the Leeds Manufacturing Festival. This is an initiative that celebrates the continuing strength of West Yorkshire’s manufacturing industry as it emerges from the challenges of the pandemic. It also highlights the range and depth of career opportunities on offer for young people with the right skills in the sector.

Such initiatives are close to our hearts here at Kirkstall Precision Engineering, especially as we work hard with our Apprenticeship Academy and grow our graduate intake to combat the skills shortages in the engineering and precision engineering sector.

Commenting on this, Managing Director of Leeds-based Daletech Electronics and Chair of Leeds Manufacturing Alliance, Tracey Dawson said: “Although the obstacles of escalating costs and Brexit remain challenging, it is without doubt the shortage of technical and practical skills that are critical to the future of the sector that is the biggest hurdle facing manufacturing employers right now.”

Adding further to Tracey’s comments, Kirkstall Precision’s Managing Director, Iqbal Bahia had this to say: “The investment in young people has been long recognised and is the key to sustained success in our business. By investing in young people, you are creating a workforce with an emotional investment in your business and the successful outcome of all the projects you take on, which means customers get exceptional outcomes on their orders and we get an enhanced reputation for quality, delivery and passion.”

Attracting the best engineering firms in the county

Held at Leeds City College, the Leeds Manufacturing Festival, features a line-up of manufacturing-industry experts as well as a series of manufacturing industry events scheduled across the coming months, including a manufacturing careers showcase hosted by Leeds City College, careers fairs in schools, online careers panels, virtual work experience sessions and visits to some of Leeds’ leading manufacturing firms.

Commenting further on the festival, Kirkstall Precision’s CEO Adam Thornton commented that: “For young people, this is the perfect time to be acquiring the right skill set for a career in our industry as digital transformation projects, new technology and rewarding job opportunities shift perceptions of manufacturing from menial and repetitive tasks to the high-skilled roles and technology-led workplace of tomorrow. And this shift has been very much noticed in applications for both our Apprenticeship Academy and our graduate recruitment programme.”

Combating the “endemic skills shortages” for high-skilled jobs

Despite ongoing challenges around the supply of raw materials, rising costs from energy and inflation, manufacturing and engineering firms across the UK are still highlighting skills shortages as one of their main concerns for 2022 and beyond.

Skills and recruitment challenges have been a key issue long before Covid came along, but as we come out of the pandemic labour shortages alongside record job vacancies are now a major barrier to economic recovery with manufacturing businesses reporting hiring difficulties at all skill levels.

It’s only by businesses getting behind initiatives like the Leeds Manufacturing Festival and investing in young people and skills development can the UK remain a leading light in this field, globally.

To find out more about the Leeds Manufacturing Festival and how you can get involved, visit