Birch Vale hopes to encourage young people to take up a career in the sciences

Staines, UK – July 6, 2016

Demonstrating Dow’s continued desire to reach out and inspire the next generation of STEM industries, 23 pupils from New Mills School were invited to Dow Birch Vale’s leading-edge facility to experience how the products developed at the site are used in industry. As Klaus Riber, site leader, explained; “New Mills were organising a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) day and were keen for us to be involved – we of course were happy to facilitate a day with the pupils.”

“Encouraging young people to take up STEM subjects is key in helping to ensure that we have a healthy pipeline of talented adults to fill vital roles in these areas in future,” he continued.

As such, the group of year 10 students were provided with the opportunity to be introduced to exotherm curing, by making their own hand casts. What’s more, Dow employees provided a demonstration of machine-applied spraying, though which the students were shown the diverse nature of Birch Vale’s biggest brand product, HYPERLAST™. Those demonstrating explained the various skills required and prospects within the sector including chemists, polymer technologists and engineers.

Through the experience, the students learnt about the diverse application of the products created at Birch Vale, ranging from car suspension parts, to aggregate screens for quarrying, or the protection of subsea pipelines. Hence, pupils gained a stronger understanding, of the links between the products created at Birch Vale, and the wider world.

Kiera Goodwin, a student at New Mills School, commented that she “really enjoyed working in groups and taking part in the experiments. It was fascinating to see how the chemicals reacted and how chemistry affects our everyday lives.” Faculty Team Leader for Science and Technology, Lorna Barnfather, went on to say that “It has been an amazing day that has increased the students’ awareness of local STEM based industry.”

We are very grateful to Dow Chemical Company for all their support and would like to thank the staff at the Birch Vale site for giving their time and resources as well as making their experts available for the students to ask questions.” The Birch Vale site are also looking forward to working with New Mills School - offering students placements on its work experience scheme.