Royal Society of Chemistry director, Clare Viney, spends day as apprentice to celebrate National App

Member Article

Chemistry director returns to the floor

A North East chemicals research business has linked up with the Royal Society of Chemistry to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week.

High Force Research Ltd, which specialises in new product development in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and fine chemicals industries invited Clare Viney, who is the Royal Society of Chemistry’s director of membership and external affairs, to spend a day as an apprentice, highlighting the importance of apprenticeships and alternative career routes into science.

The chemical research company received funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry through its EnterprisePlus Scheme, to appoint its first apprentice chemist last year.

Megan Jones, 18, from Chester-le-Street, joined the company in November on a five-year apprenticeship. The apprenticeship funding from the Royal Society of Chemistry also goes towards the first three years of university fees, with High Force paying the final two years of her five-year chemistry degree course.

As well as doing her five-year apprenticeship, which will enable her to learn key practical skills working alongside experienced chemists, Megan, who attended New College Durham, will also study part-time for a chemistry degree at Teesside University.

Former research associate, Viney, returned to the laboratory for the first time in 15 years alongside Jones. The pair took part in tasks, including filling a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance vessel (NMR) with liquid nitrogen.

“Apprenticeships help so many people to grow, from the apprentices themselves to their employers and ultimately our economy,” says Viney.

“At the Royal Society of Chemistry, we’re really pleased to be able to support such a thriving community of chemical sciences companies.

“Funding and support from our EnterprisePlus programme provides companies like High Force with access to expertise and knowledge to help them grow, and innovate and do the scientific research that will make life better for all of us.”

Last year alone, there were more than 850,000 funded apprentices across 170 industries and in the 2014-2015 academic year more than 1.5m applications were received.

High Force Research Director, Stuart Penny, said: “Appointing an apprentice is another way of finding and developing home grown talent. We have strong relationships with the universities and usually appoint graduates but the benefit of working with apprentices is that we are able to teach practical laboratory skills from day one.

“Megan has been working in our laboratories with highly experienced chemists four of five days a week and this combined with her academic studies will make her a very skilled employee in the years to come.”

Megan said: “This is a great opportunity to progress my career in chemistry as I will be learning practical skills in a laboratory and working alongside experienced chemists.

“I am getting valuable hands-on experience and will also have a degree at the end of five years.”

National Apprenticeship Week celebrates apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy. This year’s theme focuses on higher skills to show how young people, entrepreneurs and businesses can work together through traineeships and apprenticeships.

The Royal Society of Chemistry offers apprenticeship grants up to £6,000 throughout the academic year.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Harry Robinson .

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