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Blog: CBA at Chemistry At Work Week

Blog: CBA at Chemistry At Work Week

8 February 2024

Blog: CBA at Chemistry At Work Week – How important is encouraging the next generation in ensuring a sustainable future for the chemical supply chain?

Across four days from the 23rd-26th January, Josh, Caitlin, Danish, Tim and Heather attended the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre’s Chemistry At Work Week. They were joined by Azelis’ Anna, Stort Group’s Clare and Univar Solutions’ Georgia, who are all part of the CBA’s Future Council.

Put on by the centre annually, the week gives pupils the opportunity to gain practical experience of how chemistry works, inspiring them to think about how chemistry affects their everyday lives, consider which careers exist in the industry, and the pathways they could take into a future role.

So, just how important is engaging with the next generation at events like Chemistry At Work Week in propelling our industry to a bright future?

“We were delighted to have the CBA join us for Chemistry At Work Week for the second year running.” said Lucinda Lewis, Education Manager at Catalyst.

“The team introduce our students to a great range of industry partners who our students would not get the chance to meet otherwise”.

Lucinda speaks of the ‘invaluable’ time the CBA and Future Council spent talking with audiences, specifically noting the lasting impact CBA CEO Tim Doggett talking about his career journey had on a work experience student.

Empowering our members to give opportunities and pathways to young people seeking a career in the chemical supply chain is part of our commitment to ensuring our industry remains appropriately equipped to adapt to the changing demands of our sector, and that it remains in a strong position in the future.

Our future council is one of the initiatives we use to achieve this, giving people who work for our member companies’ opportunities to participate in events such as chemistry at work week to share their knowledge and experience with those who are part of the next generation, with the aim of inspiring them into a career path similar to theirs in the future.

Future Council member Anna Lawrence, Technical Sales Manager at Azelis, is appreciative of the opportunity the week gave the group to promote our ‘wonderful chemical industry’: “Thank you Catalyst for inviting us to give a taster of what it’s like to work in chemical distribution.”

Univar Solutions’ Sustainability Co-Ordinator Georgia Llewellyn highlights the importance those who have experience working in the chemical supply chain raising awareness of the roles that exist. “It’s always clear that school kids do not know what goes on in the chemical industry. We give their lessons real world context and certainly open their eyes to what jobs are available. So, the opportunity to share what good our products and services do is very important.”

Georgia also discusses the personal benefit from participating in the week. “I always find out something new for myself”.

Clare Holtham, Technical Sales Manager at Stort Group, shares the same sentiment. “The Chemistry at work week at the Catalyst was my first opportunity to discuss the chemical supply chain with KS3 children; a great opportunity to share insight and experience with bright, engaged kids and to reflect on my own experience through their refreshing outlook.”

Proactively speaking to young people about careers in our sector whilst focusing on the importance of transferrable skills reduces the potential of a skills gap in the industry. Several members of the future council are careers ambassadors, giving them knowledge of the science curriculum and issues currently affecting our society, including climate change and plastic usage, making it relatable to young people and the challenges industry could face.

Sharing this knowledge in practical situations such as the chemistry at work week gives young people the confidence to be curious in a career in the chemical supply chain and discover the role they could potentially go in to.

Encouraging the next generation is critical to ensuring the sustainable future of the chemical supply chain. An industry so important in all aspects of a modern-day society needs to be led by passionate and inspired individuals to ensure it remains innovative and strong. It is our responsibility to make sure young people are aware that opportunity exists everywhere in our industry, whatever their goals and interests are. Events like chemistry at work week are hugely important in delivering that message.

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