18 October 2018


WAKEFIELD’S Conservatory Outlet Limited smashed the glass ceiling at the inaugural Wakefield Manufacturing Awards to win Manufacturer of the Year 2018.

The all girl team, from one of the district’s top employers, collected the glass gong at a lunch to celebrate the sector, which employs 18000 people and contributes more than 30 per cent to the area’s Gross Domestic Product,  during Business Week.

 At the same lunch manufacturers were urged to be brave and tell decision makers what they need to make Brexit a success, by Mark Ridgeway CEO of Group Rhodes.

 Addressing the district’s diverse manufacturers who were celebrating a year of success he reminded them that the sector was dynamic, diverse and offered real careers for the next generation in industries ranging from food, glazing and state of the art technology and had a healthy supply chain network extending around the globe.

 And while some at the Unity Works lunch were concerned that the shadow of Brexit would impact the local economy, Adrian Brooks of Production Park said that while his creative hub was almost completely international he had no intention to relocate but invest further in the former South Kirkby pit village.

 The Wakefield Manufacturing Awards were organised by the Wakefield Manufacturing Forum to recognize and pay respect to an important sector in the district.

 Shortlisted industries included traditional engineering, textiles and companies from the fast growing creative and arts sector.

Tim Mee, chair of the WMF said that manufacturers often felt overlooked, but in Wakefield it was one of the fastest growing, high value sectors employing skilled people.

 “The shortlist is just a snapshot of the diversity of manufacturing in Wakefield District with many other companies making components that are shipped around the globe for mission critical industries including automotive, aviation, medical, agricultural and energy,” he said.

 “Following the success of this year’s awards we look forward to them being a regular part of Business Week.”

 Amy Johnson, of Conservatory Outlet, which was named Manufacturer of the Year, sponsored by Pure Technology Group, said: “We have invested heavily in new product ranges and expanding our distributor network to ensure the business remains sustainable for our 130 employees in Wakefield and this award is fantastic recognition of our commitment,” she said.

 Chris Rosindale of Rostech Engineering, which was named Best Start UP, sponsored by Ad:Venture said that the award would spur the business on to fast forward its growth plans of doubling staff numbers within two years of its launch.

Matt Orford, of Yorkshire Lasers, which was named Best Exporter sponsored by C4 Salesforce Group said that it was a fantastic award for a team who made boxes and brackets that were shipped around the world for use in telecoms, fire safety, automotive and offshore projects.

Full shortlisted companies included:

Best Start Up: Rostech Engineering, Nationwide Curtain Makers, Riverside Coatings.  Best Exporter: Yorkshire Lasers, Production Park, Fusion Products Limited.  Best Overall Company:  Conservatory Outlet Ltd, Brilliant Stages, Advanced Diesel Engineering Ltd.