Robert Fairbairn, business and careers lead at Oastler School in Bradford, has described Bradford Manufacturing Weeks as ‘transformative’ for his role in meeting the government’s new Gatsby benchmarks.
New to teaching following a career as operations manager in a social enterprise setting, Robert has enlisted the support and engagement of six local employers after just one networking event organised as part of Bradford Manufacturing Week 2018.
The result? Work placements, experiences and engagements for all of the year 10 students at the school, meaning five and six of the eight Gatsby benchmarks were met in just three months.
Speaking at a Bradford Manufacturing Weeks ‘Getting to Know You” networking event for employers and careers leads in June, Robert said: “Bradford Manufacturing Weeks is an exceptional initiative with huge benefits for everyone involved,” explains Robert. “We simply want to help our learners get the right jobs for their future and the bottom line is getting them the right experiences to inspire them into employment.
“Bradford Manufacturing Weeks as an initiative has been transformative for me as a teacher and for us as a school as it has opened doors that we didn’t know where there. Through networking, events and conversations it has connected me, our school and our learners with local employers who now understand what we need and want to help us showcase local industry opportunities to students.
“Achieving the Gatsby benchmarks is important for us but what really matters is engaging with young people in a way which makes them see the opportunities and potential – not only in business but in themselves.”
He added: “Providing opportunities to meet and speak with local employers is key but with demands for our time coming from so many different areas, the value of an initiative which creates and provides those opportunities is like gold dust.
“Since attending our first Bradford Manufacturing Week event in September 2018, the benefits have literally mushroomed and we’ve gone from having no employer partners to six – a number which continues to grow.”
Since September 2018, Oastlers school is now engaging with Bradford manufacturers Fibreline, Pennine Pneumatic Services, Mansfield Pollard, SIL Holdings, Christeyns and Pollards who have contributed workplace tours, meet the employer events, life skills workshops and work experience for the pupils.