Home > Media > ChemNet students visit manufacturing site

Briar Chemicals welcomed a group of students from the UEA’s ChemNet programme who are keen to learn how chemistry works in a manufacturing environment.

The visit, for the pupils aged 14-18 years from Paston Sixth Form College, was arranged by Dr Sean Thurston, Royal Society of Chemistry Education Coordinator (East) for ChemNet who works at the School of Chemistry at the University of East Anglia. Sean said;

I think it’s great that companies like Briar Chemicals encourage visits like this. We, as the Royal Society of Chemistry, think it’s really important that students are able to see how the Chemistry they learn at school can be applied in real life situations. Also, learning about potential careers in Chemistry is definitely something we would encourage students to get involved in.

The visit follows on from a recent Top of the Bench competition which was hosted by Briar Chemicals in November 2015, after which Sean thought it would be useful for the ChemNet students to get an opportunity to see chemistry working on an industrial scale. ChemNet is a Royal Society of Chemistry programme providing chemistry help and support for students aged 14-18 years old.

ChemNet students visit Briar Chemicals to learn about chemistry
ChemNet students meet with Briar’s technical specialists to learn more about Chemistry

Haydn Dalton, Technical Specialist at Briar Chemicals, who coordinated the visit arranged a busy two hours on site for the students. They were taken on a tour of the site which included visiting production plants, control rooms and laboratories, enabling them to get a real insight into how some of the chemistry they may have come across in the classroom is used in a commercial environment.

Haydn said;

Our aim is to give the students an informative, interesting experience which will encourage and enthuse them to become the scientists and engineers of the future.

Whilst on site at Briar Chemicals, they learnt how the collaboration of different teams work together to produce the finished products. The students had the opportunity to meet and talk to plant operators, laboratory technicians and other employees and learnt about the importance of operating safely as a team to ensure the success of the business.

Emily Chilvers, a Plant Manager on the site was also involved in the visit said; “These visits give students a really valuable insight into how chemistry is used in a manufacturing environment. It’s important that we encourage young people into the profession and this is a very good way for them to get first-hand knowledge and experience.”

Following on from the site tour, the group were shown a presentation about the site followed by a discussion on the career opportunities available for chemistry students in the industry.

“There are many different facets of the business, and we hope to open their minds to the potential avenues that can be taken, both in the chemistry and engineering sectors.”