Tell our young people about the opportunities in Torbay
For the second year in a row, I was privileged to be a judge at the MADE Manufacturing Challenge Finals that were held at the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay.
Manufacturing Activities Designed to Engage (MADE) is a project looking to raise the profile of careers within the manufacturing sector locally, both now and in the future, to inspire our young students and enable them to have the skills for a rewarding career. It brings together local companies and educators to work collaboratively to develop activities which challenge students and engages them in STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.
Our education sector is fantastic in Torbay. It creates wonderful students who historically have often felt that better employment opportunities lie beyond the Torbay boundaries rather than within in them. So it would seem we are working hard to create brilliant people for companies in competing locations!
We need to keep showing these students the opportunities that exist here and not hide them away or make them difficult to seek out. They need to be visible but within their frame of reference and both businesses and educators must do this together to be truly effective.
Of course, I’m not suggesting they have to stay but perhaps realise there are career paths here for them within our brilliant, World leading manufacturing and tech companies. Torbay is a wonderful location to live, work and have a rewarding career. It is possible to have your cake and eat it!
Why is this important in attracting inward investment? Well, with almost every enquiry to Torbay the conversations or business case data that investors want, after property and accessibility to customer markets, is the availability of skilled labour – who will be their next group of experts? Also, it is often expensive, difficult and time consuming for companies to lure people to them and there are of course no guarantees that they will stay the distance.
Once these companies are here we want them to grow and tackle new overseas markets and they can only do that successfully with a combination of the right employees, infrastructure, premises and business environment. Along with our key partners and business community, TDA and Torbay Council are working hard to achieve these aims, but there is always more work to be done.
When I talk to the engineers in our manufacturing and tech companies they often mention that they all have grey hair and that we need to ‘grow our own’ – Torbay’s employees of the future. People equipped with the right kind of skills that employers need to be successful to tackle UK and Global markets. These people are the future business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators who are going to pick up the baton and run with it.
Those of you reading this who have children or with young people in your wider families, please tell them about the MADE – Engineering Your Future short film on YouTube. They will definitely know how to find it and it might just encourage them to stay and understand the opportunities here for them in Torbay.