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Whilst there have been many ideas mooted for the decline in students choosing to study STEM subjects, what most people agree is that we need our scientists, engineers and technology students, to ensure we have a workforce equipped to deliver for the 21st century and beyond.

Whether it is as consultants AT Kearney found that schools have had a hand in what they term the “Great British science turn-off”, by pushing only the “ultra-bright” students towards higher study at A level or perhaps that other areas, for whatever reason, have been seen as more exciting –  what they did find overall was that during the course of secondary education, 74% of girls and 56% of boys lose their interest in maths and science.  And whilst there is some debate about the reasons for this, what does seem to unite discussion is the need to embrace the enthusiasm children show in science at an early age and allow it to develop into a passion and a career choice.

It is therefore rather apt that in the year of 150th anniversary of Dmitry Mendeleev’s significant discovery of the Periodic System, 2019 has been named “International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements”.

The year has got off to an exciting start, with many initiatives to engage children and young adults of all ages.  One such initiative is the IYPT Schools Competition  run by the CIA, within their Future Forum network, with a focus on what students consider to be the most important element.   We’re pleased to sponsor the primary school prize.

In further recognition of this landmark year, we’ve sponsored an element at The Catalyst Science Discovery Centre in Widnes, a cause we’re very pleased to support, given its’ focus on the science and technology behind the chemical industry. It seems particularly important given the role of the chemical industry in our economy, that young children upwards are given some understanding of the significance it plays in our everyday lives.