NORTH East engineering and manufacturing will once again come under the national spotlight as plans for this year’s Durham Oktoberfest are announced.

The event, which is now in its ninth year, is taking place on Thursday, October 20, at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe.

Durham Oktoberfest is the region’s leading engineering and manufacturing networking event, bringing small and large employers together to inter-trade and showcase their services.

A number of exhibitors and sponsors have already been secured, including Business Durham which is GOLD sponsor and Bowburn-based Altec Engineering who are once again a silver sponsor and have doubled their exhibition space because of the success they’ve enjoyed at previous events.

David Steel, Managing Director of Altec Engineering, said: “Durham Oktoberfest is our home exhibition and a great way to introduce our expanding group of companies to the industry.

“It is a brilliant networking tool and because of this, and the continued growth we’re experiencing, we have taken four stands this year to showcase our businesses.”

Other silver sponsors include Samuel Grant Packaging, Hitachi Tool and Stadium Export Services.

One of the changes to this year’s event will see Meet the Buyer become a stand-alone event, delivered by County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network (CDEMN) which organises Durham Oktoberfest.

Instead, there will be workshops and seminars added to the line-up, which will be themed around subjects that are directly affecting businesses.

David Land, Chairman of CDEMN, said: “The challenge every year is for Durham Oktoberfest to be bigger and better and to achieve that we take on board the feedback we get from sponsors, exhibitors and visitors.

“As a result we have changed the structure of the schedule to incorporate the workshops and seminars which businesses have said they would benefit from, and also have Meet the Buyer as a completely stand-alone event which will allow us to take that particular element to the next level.

“We’re confident this year will be the best yet with even more engineering and manufacturing companies coming through the door to showcase their services.”

Simon Goon, Managing Director of Business Durham, said: “Oktoberfest is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the diverse range and depth of talent, the outstanding competitiveness and the innovation of engineering and manufacturing businesses across County Durham and the wider North East region and Business Durham is delighted to once again be the gold sponsor.”