Here at the Growth Company, we’re passionate about giving young people the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to succeed – regardless of their background or academic achievements. To us, youth work is all about engaging with some of the hardest-to-reach young people and working with them to get them interested in their education and career.
One of the many ways in which we do this is through our Make It campaign, run by The Manufacturing Institute. Since it began 12 years ago, the Make It campaign has inspired more than 70,000 students and schools – showing youngsters from a wide range of backgrounds what they can expect if they pursue a career in the world of manufacturing.
The manufacturing industry often isn’t positively perceived by young people, but the Make It challenges aim to change their views and encourage them to consider a career in the sector. And the results speak for themselves, as they show that those who participate in our campaign are twice as likely to work in manufacturing in the future.
So how do the challenges work? Each challenge will be backed by a sponsor, who supports a one-day, competitive manufacturing activity for schoolchildren aged 13 and 14. Challenges are organised by The Manufacturing Institute and are held up and down the country. Participants are encouraged to be as creative and as innovative as possible, with the winning team in each heat going through to the final.
Speaking of what young people gain from taking part in the challenges, Stephanie Boyle, Make It Product Lead at The Manufacturing Institute, said: “Students get a taste of what it’s like to work within manufacturing. They get a great opportunity to introduce themselves to huge employers who are right on their doorstep when they leave school - companies like BAE Systems, Kelloggs and TATA Chemicals. They get to talk to senior leaders, as well as graduates and apprentices who can talk to them about their careers and how they got to where they are now.”
“Above all else, Make It really focuses on developing those essential skills – such as teamwork, communication, leadership and problem solving. Students often walk away from the challenges with a lot more confidence having just stood on a stage and presented their own ideas to a room of circa 120 people. We often have phenomenal ideas coming from the students and more often than not it’s the girl’s schools who excel, proving that manufacturing really isn’t just for the boys! Some students have impressed the sponsors so much in previous years that they now work for those companies.”
There are two upcoming Make It challenges: one in Knutsford with schools across Cheshire on the 22nd November, and an event in Burnley with schools across Lancashire on the 6th December. We’re looking forward to seeing the amazing creations that the students come up with.