CHEMICAL industry specialists from across Europe were brought together by Cheshire West and Chester Council at a conference to support future chemical skills needs in the borough.
The event – part of the Europe-wide ChemClust project – concentrated on looking at new ways of ensuring the skills levels in the chemical industry remain competitive, and how to attract interest from young people in a career in the chemical industry.
The council was pleased to have received representatives from all the major regions in Europe that have a high number of chemical sites, as the borough is keen to reduce any skills gaps in the chemical industry, and information was shared with the European counterparts.
Delegates were addressed by Dr Jenny Clucas, UK skills strategy director for COGENT and a former CEO of Chemical North West.
COGENT operates across the UK and delivers nationally approved skill set training for the chemical, oil and gas industries.
The results of this collaborative research will go to top decision-makers in Whitehall and in the EU to attract more funding and provide increased skills provision in the borough and across the rest of the European chemical industry.
The council was also pleased with the decision by the UK Science Council to interview students from Whitby High School in Ellesmere Port as part of the ChemClust project research carried out locally.
The council’s role in supporting Cheshire’s chemical industry is backed up by the council being part of the European Chemical Regions Network (ECRN).
Cllr Herbert Manley, a former ICI executive and executive member for prosperity, serves on the executive of the ERCN board and brings his experience to ensure Cheshire has a voice in any EU decisions affecting the chemical sector.
Cllr Manley said: “The chemical industry in the borough is one of the largest employers in our area and is internationally recognised as a centre of excellence and a key growth sector.
“Supporting the chemical industry and its future skills requirements is of significant importance and we are doing all in our power to maintain this competitive edge.”