Michelin opened the doors of its Ballymena production plant to local students last week as part of a UK-wide initiative to encourage young people to consider careers in manufacturing.
On Tuesday and Thursday, the factory, which employs about 900 staff and produces bus and truck tyres, offered students a behind-the-scenes look at the manufacturing process.
Pupils from several Ballymena and Antrim schools and colleges took part in tours of the site over the two days and met Michelin employees from a number of different career paths.
The event forms part of a government drive called ‘See Inside Manufacturing’ which encourages schoolchildren right across the United Kingdom to visit factories with the aim of creating an additional 250,000 apprenticeships.
John Milsted, Factory Manager at Michelin, said: “If Northern Ireland is to thrive, it needs to promote jobs in the manufacturing sector and the See Inside Manufacturing event is one way of doing this.
“The image of manufacturing is changing for the better, but there are still many young people who don’t appreciate the variety, challenges and rewards offered by companies like Michelin.
“Events like this are really important in helping to nurture Ballymena’s next generation of engineers. Showing young people first-hand what is involved in the manufacturing process can help ignite a passion that can lead to a long-term and rewarding career.
“This is the third year we have taken part in the See Inside Manufacturing scheme and we view it as a vital way of raising awareness of the range of employment opportunities that exist within the manufacturing sector, not least of all in an organisation such as Michelin,” said John.