Regional business experts and politicians will debate the challenges and opportunities facing industry as Britain prepares for its exit from the EU.

As part of this year’s Durham Oktoberfest event, there will be a panel debate and question and answer session where business figures will give their thoughts about Brexit.

The ‘Brexit: industry expectations and what’s needed to ensure confidence and a seamless transition’ seminar will feature:

  • David Land, Chairman of the County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network (CDEMN)
  • Phil Wilson MP
  • Abi Broadley, Aquarius Rail
  • Michael Smith, Tait Walker
  • Kevin Maloney, Muckle LLP
  • Richard Hogg, Jackson Hogg
  • Lee Childs, Sora

David Land said: “This year marks the tenth anniversary of Oktoberfest so it’s fitting that we find a key topic to debate and one of the hottest topics is the requirements for industry after we exit the EU .

“The panel brings together a number of key figures from industry and politics, each have their own views on what should happen when Britain’s exits the Europe Union.

“Getting the thoughts of the audience will be a key part of the debate especially as there is still so much uncertainty around Brexit and how it will affect businesses, so I’m expecting a lively debate.”

Oktoberfest is being held at the Xcel Centre in Newton Aycliffe on Thursday, October 19.

In addition to the panel debate, the University of Sunderland through their AMAP division will also host for the third year their Maintenance Forum, which will focus on promoting best practice within the sector. In the afternoon the Rail Alliance will host a seminar which will look at opportunities within the rail sector. The Education Zone will again feature strongly where budding engineers can showcase their work and meet future employers. In the exhibition hall there will be an Incubator Zone for micro firms to showcase their products and services enabling them to link to the engineering and manufacturing sectors.

Ben Gilhespy, Operations Director at County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network (CDEMN), which organises Durham Oktoberfest, said: “The themed seminars and workshops were introduced last year in response to feedback from attendees and proved immensely popular, over 100 people attended the various sessions and we’re delighted that they’re returning this year.

“The event celebrates its tenth birthday this year and we’re pulling out all the stops to ensure it’s our best yet. Oktoberfest is the perfect platform to showcase the North East’s vast capabilities within the engineering and manufacturing sectors; introduce businesses to potential clients and suppliers; and through the themed workshops give them a unique insight into areas that could support their growth.”

Alongside Business Durham, global rail manufacturer Stadler has also come on board as a gold sponsor, and Nigel Wright Recruitment is an associate partner.

To find out more visit the website,

Durham Oktoberfest is also pleased to announce that on the evening of the event the regional Made in the North East awards hosted by Insider Media will be held at Redworth Hall Hotel.