Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2021 – Women in Manufacturing

by | Oct 19, 2021 | Company News

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Keighley Laboratories Managing Director Takes Part In Bradford Manufacturing Weeks’ Panel – Women In Manufacturing

As part of Bradford Manufacturing Weeks 2021, Keighley Laboratories Managing Director Debbie Mellor was invited to be part of a Q&A panel at Bradford Girls’ Grammar School.

The event was led by Vicky Wainwright, Bradford Chamber of Commerce President and Managing Director of accountancy firm Naylor Wintersgill. 

Aimed at inspiring the next generation of women in manufacturing, Debbie was joined by six other all-female panellists from Bradford-based firms. 

The panel, with a collective 150 years’ in the industry fielded a wide range of questions about the manufacturing industry from an enthusiastic audience – pupils from Bradford Girls’ Grammar School. The panel were able to share their experiences, as well as advise on career opportunities within the sector. 

Debbie highlighted the impact the city of Bradford has made in manufacturing, as well as attracting future talent to carry this tradition on. 

She said: “Bradford has a long and proud history in manufacturing. There are 1,200 firms that employ 27,000, making it 13% of the entire city’s workforce.

“It is also known for being the ‘youngest city’ in the country, and I feel strongly that as a sector we can offer future generations excellent employment opportunities.”

With the focus of the event being on women in manufacturing, this gave Debbie and the other female business leaders on the panel to act as role models for the audience. 

Fran Salisbury, Laboratory Manager at Christeyns UK said “Even though women make up half of the workforce of Christeyns UK, they still remain highly unrepresented in the manufacturing sector, especially at managerial levels.

“Women bring a lot to the sector – not only hardworking attitudes but creativity, critical thinking, efficiency and invention. They are untapped talent, which manufacturing needs to attract in order to remain competitive.

“My hope is that Bradford Manufacturing Weeks can inspire and encourage young women to look at the potential of a fulfilling career in manufacturing”

Since 2018, Bradford Manufacturing Weeks has created more than 12,000 manufacturing experiences for young people aged 14-18.

Debbie also reiterated the importance of the scheme, as well as the responsibility that Keighley Laboratories and other Bradford-based businesses have in honing the skills of young people for the future of the industry.

“I believe it is a shared responsibility between business, education and government, both local and national to address the skills challenges across the country,” she added. 

“There is much we can do as an industry to raise the awareness of apprenticeships, especially in the minds of parents, teachers and the young people themselves. 

“Parity of esteem between vocational and academic routes into employment must be a collective goal. 

“Here in Bradford we are leading the way and I would encourage all manufacturers to play their part.”

To find out more about how Keighley Laboratories can help you further your skills, visit our job opportunities page, or alternatively, get in touch with us at