In order to speed up the delivery of solutions to societal challenges, and ensure its future competitiveness, the European chemical industry needs a well-educated, high quality workforce with appropriate skills.
Cefic position on education and skills
Education is a significant factor in innovation performance, offering a fundamental basis for the creation of new knowledge and the appropriate application of this knowledge for the benefit of society.
The chemical industry is already organising summer schools, working with schools and universities and organising specific teacher training to boost sector-specific skills. However, these initiatives are usually locally organised. A broader approach is required to expand the impact of these activities as far as possible across Europe.
Cefic is supporting a range of inclusive activities. They aim to share best practice in science education at schools, introduce action days in schools to ‘get the chemical feeling’, improve the education of teachers in the chemical sciences, distribute information to young people about career opportunities in research and innovation, improve co-ordination between the various ongoing activities in Europe, raise the general level of educational attainment, foster innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit, and position chemistry as an enabling activity, offering a positive view of the chemical sciences to the general public and to young people in particular.
Research, Innovation and Human Resources
Following the recommendations on human resources and education of the High Level Group on the Competitiveness of the European Chemicals Industry (HLG), Cefic initiated a study which aims to investigate the critical – business, personal, scientific and technical – skills that scientists and engineers will need to boost innovation in the European chemical industry of the future. Published by Cefic in November 2010, the “Skills for Innovation in the European Chemical Industry” report highlighted the needs for better integration of business and related skills in scientific curricula, and broadening of the scientific multidisciplinary skill base.
In order to innovate successfully and remain sustainably competitive the European chemical sector needs human resources equipped with the right mix of skills. Because higher education and the European chemical industry have to build together the skills capacity for tomorrow, Cefic and the SusChem Education team are working together to open a constructive dialogue between industry, higher education and other relevant organisations on the best way to:
- systematically introduce key skills for innovation into higher education curricula,
- create synergies between the chemical industry and higher education.