Friday, December 8, 2017

Children Challening Industry

CIEC’s Children Challenging Industry programme was initiated by Tom Swan, then Managing Director of Thomas Swan and Co. Ltd. Tom Swan wanted a peripatetic teacher to visit primary schools in County Durham. Joy Parvin (Director, CIEC), then added in the site visits and school staff CPD, to create the CCI programme we have today.  Harry Swan (Tom’s son, now the Managing Director of Thomas Swan), first got involved when attending a CCI summer event, which brought back the memory of his own class visit to his Dad’s company. Meeting children, teachers and colleagues from other chemical companies at this event enabled Harry to appreciate the positive impact of site visits, and how learning about industry changed children’s perceptions of these companies and their relationship with science. Harry is now Chair of CIEC’s Advisory Committee, and plays a key role in encouraging other companies to support CIEC’s activities.

Pupils are fascinated during a demonstration at Johnson Matthey

Johnson Matthey in Billingham have been hosting school visits since 2002. During that time, they have welcomed more than 1500 children to their site, with over 300 of these visiting in the last 12 months alone.  The Johnson Matthey site in Royston hosts an additional 6 site visits annually and sends ambassadors into a further 4 schools each year.  These opportunities to interact and engage with the children are not only an opportunity to promote awareness of Johnson Matthey but also a chance to encourage the next generation of scientists and engineers. The feedback from pupils and teachers has been excellent and has prompted yet more schools to enquire about participating in the programme.

Research shows that before participating in the CCI programme, children often have a negative perception of the chemical industry.  They see it as dangerous and polluting rather than as a place of technological innovation.  They are not aware of the links between the processes that the industries carry out and the science that they study in school.  Neither are they aware of industry’s potential as a future employer.  

Alan Bootland carrying out a Johnson Matthey demonstration
Without ongoing funding from, and the practical support of, companies such as Johnson Matthey, we would be unable to continue the invaluable work of CCI.  We are extremely grateful to them for their sustained contribution to the programme.
Jenny Harvey

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