Ingenious way to attract new skills

Erika Marshall     13th July 2016

A NORTH East manufacturer has taken to the streets to bang the drum for manufacturing and inspire the next generation of engineers.

Nifco UK, an Eaglescliffe-based manufacturer that produces plastic parts that are used in the engines, interiors and exteriors of cars made by brands like Ford, Nissan and Jaguar Landrover, took its high-tech equipment to the streets of Darlington last weekend [July 8 and 9] as part of the Festival of Ingenuity, to showcase the diverse range of careers on offer in the world of manufacturing and engineering.

Armed with a 3D printer, K’nex to build cars, and a working automated assembly machine for visitors to try their hand at making their own parts, the Nifco exhibition stand attracted plenty of attention from the thousands of visitors around Darlington town centre.

Erika Marshall, marketing and communications manager at Nifco UK, said: “Darlington has a strong engineering and manufacturing heritage, so we were delighted to be a part of bringing that to life for the local community to see what fantastic technology and processes we have now, and what careers are right on their doorstep.”

In its inaugural year, the Festival of Ingenuity invited businesses from around Darlington to showcase their work in the town centre, providing a platform for them to engage with their local community.

“The festival was a great success and really enjoyable for all of the exhibitors and those who visited. It’s fantastic to see more businesses in the area showcasing their skills and expertise to help get young people excited about manufacturing and engineering,” added Erika.

Nifco UK is a vocal advocate for skills and training, regularly investing in its 560-strong workforce, and taking on apprentices across the business from the office to the shop floor.

Mike Matthews, managing director of Nifco UK, regularly impresses the importance of investing in the next generation of skilled workers in his role as North East Chamber of Commerce president, highlighting the looming skills gap that many industries are facing – particularly engineering and manufacturing.

Erika added: “Some visitors came to see our tech in action, some came to take our dexterity tests, but all left knowing that there is a plethora of career paths available at Nifco, and it was extremely fulfilling for our team to see young people walking away inspired and considering a future with Nifco.”

Seth Pearson, Director of the One Darlington Partnership, said of Nifco’s involvement: “Nifco had clearly thought hard about how to engage young people and how to keep it fun for all visitors. The tremendous efforts the team put into the event was obvious and I am hopeful that Nifco will join us as part of next year’s festival which we’re already planning to be bigger and better!!”