Leeds Manufacturing Festival Awards

Winners announced as awards celebrate manufacturing’s brightest rising stars

Manufacturing and engineering employers came together last week to celebrate some of the sector’s brightest younger stars at a packed awards ceremony held at Leeds Beckett University’s Rose Bowl building.

The Leeds Manufacturing Festival Awards, which are now in their third year, have become one of the highlights of the festival, and showcase the talent and outstanding contribution of younger people to the industry in West Yorkshire. This year’s awards saw a record number of nominations from employers keen to reward and celebrate the achievements of outstanding apprentices and other team members.

Scooping the award for Future Manufacturing Leader, sponsored by Leeds City Council, was Kieran Dinsdale, operations supervisor at packaging manufacturer Greyhound Box.

Kieran, who joined the company as an apprentice 10 years ago, was singled out to receive the award for his creativity, professionalism and outstanding leadership qualities.

“Kieran leads a team of 12 and commands respect from everyone he works with. He is composed, patient, intelligent and highly skilled; a real asset to Greyhound Box and someone who always upholds our values and culture,” said managing director Louise O’ Brien.

The Apprentice of the Year award, sponsored by engineering apprenticeship benchmarking organisation Next Gen Makers, went to Dan Brodie of electrical control panel designer and manufacturer Bensons Panels. An apprentice panel wirer who has been with the business for just over a year, Dan is in the second year of his level 3 electrical fitter apprenticeship with the company.

Benson Panels director Matthew Barton said: “During his time with us, Dan has consistently impressed with his assurance, reliability and positivity. He is a sponge for knowledge and has gone above and beyond what was asked of him, even stepping up to take ownership in a department where we unexpectedly had a temporary resource issue. Dan used everything he had learned to do this, acquiring new skills, communicating with other teams and coordinating his own activities with those of support staff.”

Engineering firm LBBC Group nominated a winning employee in the Manufacturing Festival Awards for the third year in a row, with apprentice Michael Ellis named Rising Star 2024. Michael is in the second year of a computer numerical control (CNC) apprenticeship with LBBC and is described by his employer as “dedicated, resilient and skillful.”

Operations manager Adam Benn said: “What truly sets Michael apart is his eagerness to learn and grow. He mastered operating a CNC machine in less than a year and now independently creates tool paths using industry-standard software. This achievement alone speaks volumes about his dedication and skill.” The Rising Star award was sponsored by the School of Engineering at Leeds City College.

This year’s Employers of the Year, sponsored by E3 Recruitment, were selected for their commitment to employees and investment in people development. They were named as energy equipment and solutions firm Schneider Electric in the large employer category, with FaberExposize UK named as SME Employer of the Year. The company specialises in large-format printed flags and banners for outdoor sporting events, festivals, major retail and automotive brands.

A special award of Manufacturing Ambassador went to Graham Cooper, formerly site director at Agfa UK’s Leeds plant. The award recognised Graham’s role in initiating the Leeds Manufacturing Festival and his contribution in raising the profile of the sector.

The trophy was presented by Chris Black, president of Leeds Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the manufacturing employers sponsoring this year’s festival: Greyhound Box, Leeds Welding Company. MPM, Sound Leisure, Saftronics, Bensons Panels and Kirkstall Precision Engineering.