Posted by on 11 Jan 2017

Middleton Technology School has been declared the winners of the ‘Manufacturing Matters’ Competition, which ran in partnership with Rochdale manufacturer, TBA Protective Technologies (TBA-PT).

Launched in October, the ‘Manufacturing Matters’ competition challenged three local high schools to develop an idea for a manufacturable product, and create corresponding production, marketing and financial plans. These ideas were presented to a board of judges made up of members from TBA-PT’s management team and heads of other local companies, such as HMG Paints and Smith Goodfellow PR.

There were some fantastic products presented, from Kingsway Park High School’s heat resistant and slash-proof apron to a fire-resistant engine cover by Holy Family School. The winning product focused on fire hazards after the students from Middleton Technology School researched the causes of fire in the festive season. The result was a thorough business plan which detailed the manufacture and marketing of a stunning but functional Christmas tree star. The proposal described what would happen in the event of the tree catching fire as a result of faulty electrics or overheating. The metal star would unfold and release a fire blanket that deprives the blaze of oxygen, preventing further damage or harm in the home.

The ideas were scored against a set of strict criteria which considered how effectively entrants used the brief, their creativity, the thoroughness of the marketing and financial strategies, their overall business plan, and whether they had found a gap in the market.

Middleton Technology School was awarded the prize money of £300, along with the TBA-PT Community Shield. Perhaps the most exciting part of their prize is that their product is currently being assessed by TBA-PT’s Research & Development Division to judge the viability of the idea for manufacture in the near future.

Jo Manfred, Skills & Participation Development Officer at Rochdale Borough Council, commented:
“The ‘Manufacturing Matters’ Competition has been a fantastic opportunity for all the schools involved. By working in partnership with a local employer to create a new product, the students have been able to learn first-hand the innovation happening in the local manufacturing industry. The experience of working closely with a business mentor will give them the knowledge, expertise and skills employers look for when interviewing new candidates. The project is a first for both the schools and TBA-PT. It also meets the government’s agenda for ‘Good Career Guidance’. The new report highlights the need for young people to have interaction and encounters with employers, employees and experience in a workplace.”

Mark Lineker, General Manager of TBA Protective Technologies, concluded the event by saying:
“Whilst our congratulations go to the winners, all of the schools involved should be extremely proud of what they have achieved in the relatively short time frame. We were impressed by the enthusiasm shown by the students, evidenced by the scope of great ideas and research they came up with. We at TBA-PT feel privileged to have been able to share the wonders of manufacturing with the local community and hope that the experience will encourage all the students to consider a future career in the industry. We are already looking forward to the next event!”

The competition forms part of a larger commitment by the company to the development and continuation of British manufacturing. It is set to invest £700,000 into its manufacturing plant in Rochdale over the next two years, enabling the company to bring the production and testing it previously outsourced to the Netherlands back to the UK. Plans include creating a cutting-edge facility on their factory site to house new machinery and testing areas to further develop their production of high performance fabrics.

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