Nick Garthwaite, managing director of Christeyns UK says Bradford’s manufacturing sector is alive and kicking. In his keynote address at the city’s Chamber of Commerce annual dinner on Thursday 24 November, Garthwaite – who is the Chamber’s president – proclaimed the sector to be in a strong position to be able to help drive the city forward, adding that many local firms are “punching above their weight.” 

With that in mind, Garthwaite said that the city is to host its first Manufacturing Week in 2018 – a celebration of all things great and good about the sector, both present and future.

During the speech, BASF, Keighley Laboratories and Mansfield Pollard were singled out for special mentions at an event attended by many key decision-makers in and beyond the city, including Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe and some of the city’s MPs. Other notable firms still highly active in the sector include Borg Warner, Carnaud Metalbox, Seabrook and Spooner Industries. 

While other key policy areas, such as Brexit, devolution and Northern Powerhouse were all touched upon, Garthwaite explained the importance of manufacturing to Bradford’s future, and that it is not a relic from the past. He reminded the audience of former Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s 1967 speech about changing technologies, and called for a “new white heat of manufacturing digitisation”.  This, he said, would help change young people’s perceptions of the manufacturing sector, and persuade them about the positive career options on offer. 

The importance of education and skills was not forgotten about either:  Garthwaite announced that the Chamber’s two charities to be supported during his two-year term are both literacy support groups for the under-privileged – Beanstalk (formerly Reading Matters) and Canterbury Imagine.   

Christeyns, together with Business Enterprise Fund, Ecology Building Society and Exa Networks sponsored the event.

STRONG MANUFACTURING: Nick Garthwaite of Christeyns and president of Bradford Chamber of Commerce