One of the West Midlands leading female manufacturers has been given a royal seal of approval to get more young people involved in engineering, manufacturing and technology.

Unipart Manufacturing’s Carol Burke is one of six sector specialists to be appointed by HRH The Prince of Wales as Ambassadors of the Industrial Cadets initiative, a workplace experience accreditation designed to bridge the skills gap.

Carol, a mechanical engineer, has long been a major advocate of developing new talent and has been instrumental in creating the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering in Coventry (AME), which is giving young people access to the UK’s first ‘faculty on the factory floor’.

In her new role she will be encouraging all staff at Unipart to adopt the ‘Industrial Cadets’ approach to work experience, as well as speaking at schools, colleges and universities about the benefits of a career in industry.

“The skills gap is one of the biggest challenges facing UK manufacturing and we all have to do more to get young people interested in a career in the industrial sector,” explained Carol, who was awarded CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2015.

“Manufacturing experts, companies and education need to work in partnership to get the message out that engineering, science and technology offer fantastic career opportunities”

She continued: “The Industrial Cadets programme provides an excellent framework for work experience placements. It gives firms the chance to shape learning to suit their needs, while young people get access to inspirational role models and academia can enrich the curriculum.”

A career spanning more than 25 years and covering every level of the industrial landscape has helped position Carol as one of the UK’s most passionate supporters of R&D, technology and skills…in particular developing the engineers of the future.

She is fiercely passionate about Unipart’s involvement in the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, the £32m collaboration with Coventry University.

Two full cohorts of students are on their way to becoming industry ready and £7m has been invested in research that will lead to commercial products.

Five other individuals were named as Ambassadors for Industrial Cadets, including Joe Bolton (Liberty Group), Paul Kahn (Airbus Group UK), Matt Pullen (AkzoNobel), Colin Smith (Rolls-Royce) and Sir Andrew Witty (GlaxoSmithKline).