Chemical industry calls for shake-up

The Chemical Industries Association has called for a fundamental repositioning of the approach to science education and training in the UK.


The Chemical Industries Association (CIA) has called for a fundamental repositioning of the approach to science education and training in the UK.



A survey of CIA members published today has revealed that 83 per cent of chemical businesses do not feel science is prominent enough in the UK education system. In a commitment to raising the skills profile of the UK chemical industry, CIA said that government, trade unions and industry need to work together more closely.



Speaking this morning at the CIA Labour party conference meeting Bill Rammell MP, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education, said, ‘We have made progress increasing the number of science graduates in the UK but if we are to face up to the international challenges, particularly from China and India, we need to inspire many more young people as well as adults to study science. This Government will work with every partner to achieve this.’



The CIA works with skills sector initiatives and said that they will be at their most effective when working in conjunction with other similar initiatives and as part of an industry that embraces opportunities to learn new skills.



Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said, ‘Trade unions are working closely with employers in the chemical industry on a range of key issues and in particular on workforce skills. The new Sector Skills Agreement covering the chemical industry is the result of such a joint approach and it has set out a common agenda for tackling skills needs and promoting high performance working practices across the industry.’



CIA Chief Executive, Steve Elliott, said, ‘I would like to see lifelong learning move from concept to reality, which I believe will enhance not only individual opportunity, but also a greater appreciation of science. What lies before us – government, trade unions and industry – is a massive challenge. On behalf of chemical businesses in the UK, I say we are ready for that challenge.’