Craig goes back to school

EINSTEIN I’m not, but I know the value of education.  It’s free and it is your gateway to opportunity.

That’s particularly true when it comes to social mobility and giving young people who don’t normally have ambition to forge careers to think of stepping outside their comfort zone and consider sectors they wouldn’t normally be interested in.

Ahead Partnership works closely with employers and colleges to inspire the next generation and now they have a big focus on engineering and manufacturing specifically for girls.

They invited me to go back to the classroom and talk to pupils at my old school, in Guiseley about the kind of opportunities there are.

It was a real privilege, and very humbling, but great fun.

When I started The Works 26 years ago we focussed on engineering because we’re a Yorkshire company and it is a sector that offers great opportunities for those who will use their grey matter and work hard.

That’s still relevant today, but for many of our customers it can be tough finding young candidates with both the right attitude and aptitude.

For many years apprenticeships were unfashionable, that and the fact that engineering was considered dirty and strictly ‘Men Only’ deterred some of the brightest and best young people and women.

The average engineering business today is more like a sci-fi laboratory of the 22nd century.

Skilled engineers who are highly qualified and well-paid work at computers designing products of the future using CAD/CAM and even more sophisticated IT systems.

Companies are looking to recruit mathematically astute young men and women to train in their specific discipline.

My ambition was to inspire some of the talented young men and women there to think about a career designing and developing products that would make a real impact on society.

Everyday our customers are designing products that can literally save lives and are used in medical research, health care, food production, telecoms, auto production, in fact you name it they make it!

For half an hour I had a silent audience who all sat and listened to me.  As I said it was humbling to be invited back to my old school, but it was also exciting to think that in a few years’ time some of those young people could be walking through our door to ask us to help them find a skilled engineering job for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.