Coca Cola Tour Launches Wakefield Manufacturing Forum Website

17 July 2015

Wakefield Manufacturing Forum held a successful launch event for its new website at Coca-Cola Enterprises on Wednesday 1st July.

The forum, which exhibited at the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce MY Business Conference during Wakefield Business Week attracted 17 representatives from local manufacturers to the event. Attendees also enjoyed a site tour of the plant, which is the largest soft drinks manufacturer in the Northern Hemisphere.

The tour was followed by the launch of the website. Rob Woollin from the Business Growth Service spoke about the growing number of forums across the region that are working to support local networks of manufacturers.  Rob highlighted the importance of the forums in helping businesses form a collective identity for Wakefield manufacturers and act as a platform for sharing best practice. In addition he stressed the importance of access to the funding and skills resources that will help businesses to grow and the ability of forums to provide peer to peer networking and discussion for the sector.

Mark Ridgway OBE, DL of Group Rhodes spoke about the importance of the forum to the local industry:

‘’The Wakefield Manufacturing Forum will be able to provide support to a key industry synonymous with Wakefield. Through my involvement with the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, I know there is a skills gap that we need to fill with the next generation of local people. Equally the LEP is addressing the funding issue through a new Employer Ownership of Skills programme. Group Rhodes has a long association with the district stretching back 191 years, and throughout our history we have championed the sector. We look forward to playing a new role in providing a strong voice for the sector as part of the Wakefield Manufacturing Forum.”

Craig Heppinstall, Wakefield Council, Strategic Accounts Executive outlined the support available from Wakefield Council to manufacturers including support for funding, apprenticeships, expansion and innovation.

Karen Starkey, HR Manager of Conservatory Outlet who attended the tour explained why she joined the forum;

"Conservatory Outlet joined the Wakefield Manufacturing Forum to benefit from the collaborative knowledge of other local manufacturing professionals, and also with a view to sharing best practice and identifying funding opportunities for business growth and skills development. Our visit to Coca-Cola Enterprises was very interesting and gave us lots of ideas to consider for our own site. We are focused on growing our business and developing the people we employ, and I look forward to our continued involvement with the forum."

The forum is open to ALL manufacturing businesses in the Wakefield district.  To join you can enter your details through our website visit

We plan to hold a number of events throughout the year including best practice tours of our members and workshops that are relevant to your business needs. If you have any thoughts and ideas on future events or topics for discussion as well as good news stories about your business then please contact