Bursary Boost to Manufacturing Skills

Pioneering Russell Roof Tiles has presented its first four bursaries – in a bid to promote manufacturing, construction and engineering trades to young people.

The John Gibson Bursary is named after the founder of the award-winning roof tile manufacturer, which was established in 1965.  The bursary is aimed at 16-24 year olds, with the monies intended to be used for education or training, to pay for clothing, books and other equipment or transport whilst training.

Young people local to its two manufacturing sites in Burton on Trent and Lochmaben had the opportunity to apply for the bursary, worth £1,000 each for any training directly related to the three areas of industry.

The bursary was created by Russell’s Managing Director Andrew Hayward who is keen to support and encourage young people.  He comments; “There is a huge skills gap in our sector so it is vital that businesses like ours invest in the long term.  Despite high youth unemployment, just like other manufacturers we struggle to attract people who want to work hard, but also be trained and be well rewarded for their efforts.

The first bursaries were awarded to Jack Whysall (18), Declan Higgs (16) Callum Coleman (17), Jack and Callum both study electrical installation at Burton and South Derbyshire College, while Declan is studying plastering at the Chameleon School of Construction. Local to Lochmaben, Murray Robson, (18) was successful in his application, who is studying for his bachelors in Electronic & Electrical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.

All were invited to the company to receive their grants.  Murray Robson collected his from  Russell’s Scottish site.  He comments: “This is a fantastic opportunity from a local business. This bursary allows me to pursue Masters studies in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and achieve my long-term goal of a career in the manufacturing sector.”

Andrew added “We are in a huge growth sector. There are still many dynamic British manufacturers thriving which rely on new people joining our industry.”

The bursary awards come after Russells successful Recruitment Open Day held in Burton last month. A day when potential employees had the opportunity to meet the team, find out more about the roles available, have a tour of the site and see how products are made.

Young people are recognised as huge asset by Andrew Hayward who is a firm believer in nurturing talent.