MP praises IChemE’s DiscoverChemEng initiative after visit to their UK HQ

Article by Adam Duckett

Northlands Primary School headteacher and students (who were fundraising for Children In Need with a non-uniform day) with IChemE CEO Yvonne Baker, IChemE volunteers, Mark Pawsey MP, and Yousef Dahmash. The students were exploring the efficiency of different types of turbine blades. Top right: Pawsey (right) with Baker and IChemE president Nigel Hirst

ICHEME hosted parliamentarian Mark Pawsey at its Rugby headquarters in the UK where the MP saw first-hand the institution’s new schools outreach scheme thanks to a visit to a local primary school.

Pawsey, along with county councillor Yousef Dahmash, joined IChemE president Nigel Hirst and IChemE CEO Yvonne Baker for an outreach exercise delivered by IChemE volunteers aimed at helping children develop their engineering skills. Pupils learned about the rising demand for energy, including from electronic devices they are familiar with, like gaming consoles and tablets. They also learned about the importance of renewable resources, before splitting into groups and building models to explore the efficiency of different types of turbine blades.

Pawsey and Dahmash then joined Baker and Hirst at IChemE’s Rugby headquarters to discuss how attracting a diverse range of young talent is pivotal to ensuring future chemical engineers have the right range of skills to engineer a sustainable world, and the importance of ensuring that policy influencers have the necessary access to science and engineering expertise.

Pawsey, who sits on the select committee scrutinising the work of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), said: “Delivering reliable and affordable green energy, as well as hitting the UK’s 2050 net zero target, is a complex challenge that chemical engineers are already rising to meet across a wide range of sectors. It’s great to see initiatives like DiscoverChemEng offering youngsters from all backgrounds the opportunity to develop the strong STEM skills required for an engineering career. This is because it is crucial to ensure that we are training the future workforce the UK needs to support climate adaptation measures, develop innovative new green technologies, and deliver energy security for the UK.”

Baker said: “A key focus for the Institution of Chemical Engineers is enabling all young people to understand more about what engineers do and helping them develop their own problem solving and creativity skills. IChemE’s DiscoverChemEng initiative helps students from primary school to sixth form understand more about what chemical and process engineering is, how it impacts daily life, and how to follow a chemical engineering career.

“It's been interesting to hear Mark’s insights regarding his work on the Energy Security and Net Zero Select Committee and how IChemE can support the policy teams in this area, as chemical engineers are critical to addressing many of the key issues in the DESNZ portfolio. Our unique expertise in optimising complex systems and developing processes for industrial-scale production makes IChemE's 30,000 members uniquely placed to help drive progress towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

IChemE’s DiscoverChemEng classroom resources are available to download here.

Article by Adam Duckett

Editor, The Chemical Engineer

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