Tag Archives: Schools

What do bikes and aerosols have in common?

The Brompton Bicycle company’s spokesman was interviewed on Radio 4’s Today Programme recently bemoaning the lack of talent emerging from the UK’s schools and colleges. There is an engineering skills shortage.

Bama1-071b_AdjustedAnd so it is in the aerosol industry. We reported in our May blog on what one member company is doing to tackle the shortage. Introducing an actively managed and highly effective apprentice scheme is something that many companies across the aerosol manufacturing stream are doing.

It’s that time of year when young people en masse are considering their future careers. As A level results are announced and GCSEs are anticipated eagerly, now is a timely moment for manufacturers in the aerosol and other chemical or technical industries to open their doors – and youngsters’ eyes – to the possibilities offered by a career in industry.

For those young people with a long summer holiday ahead of them who may for a variety of reasons not to go to university or further education, an apprentice scheme could be just the answer.

At the SCS (Society of Cosmetic Scientists) Scrub Up on Science competition finals at the Science Museum the other day, a member of the BAMA team met some 13 year old finalists who were passionate scientists, dedicated to pursuing their goals later in life and thrilled to have made some personal care products by using their impressive scientific knowledge.

Not all young people are as focused. Schools no doubt do their best but, as one school teacher said, ‘Science has a poor reputation in many schools. It’s just not seen as ‘cool’”.

So industry needs to do what perhaps schools cannot achieve and reach out to young people to show them that there is a variety of careers – at all levels in a manufacturing company – which they might consider. So whether it’s testing equipment or valves; can-making or filling; design or marketing… July and August could be a good time to promote the career opportunities within our wonderful sector.

As the latest filling figures showed, up again for the 4th successive year, the aerosol sector is vibrant and thriving and needs new applicants to keep it so.

If your company is looking to set up an apprenticeship scheme, please contact Amy Falvey for information on how BAMA can assist you.

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The Appliance of Science

Nick Swift is from The Association of Science Education which runs the website SchoolScience.co.uk. He has been working with BAMA for many years to promote aerosol Science and Technology to schools. Nick is this month’s guest blogger.

Nick SwiftIf you work in the education business you are constantly bombarded by messages from industry, universities and government about the shortage of scientists, engineers and mathematicians. Dozens of websites and schemes are set up to try to solve the problem. None of them do any harm and many are excellent, but all too often they are schemes that will run for a while and then fade away.

The fact is that teachers need to be informed about how science is applied in the real world. I run the website www.schoolscience.co.uk and Twitter account @schoolscience that does just this. We channel scientific news to schools and create original learning resources. Much of science can be dry theory. Our aim is to show how the theory is applied.

When I was asked by BAMA to create teaching resources about aerosols, I jumped at the chance to show how that ubiquitous little can explains a lot of basic science. The index page is here http://www.schoolscience.co.uk/aerosolsindex
To gather the information required took many discusssions with the experts at BAMA and several visits to aerosol companies where I managed to grasp most of the technology. I learned that aerosols look simple and they are simple. The hard part is making billions of them cheaply. Getting into those companies was arranged by BAMA and was crucial to the project. No matter how much internet research you do, there is no substitute for seeing the processes and talking to employees. Some of those employees are featured in the resource.

The resource has to match the science curriculum, so the main issues are vapour pressure, ideal gas pressure, the pressure law, Boyle’s Law and resistance welding. There is a simple treatment of droplet size. Wherever possible, clear pictures and videos have been used. There are question pages and help with pressure units.

The web pages are created in a way that makes the resource editable, so if you have better pictures, more process detail, or any ideas for improving the resource, please get in touch with BAMA and we can look at editing the resource to include them. Comments on the resource are welcome too.

And finally… a story.
Once upon a time I was in Leeds city centre when a new construction project was creating pile foundations. The biggest pile drill I have ever seen was just starting up. Two teenage girls walked past the site entrance. One was awestruck at this massive machine and tried to get her friend to look. Her friend was impatient to get on and never gave the machine a glance. I watched them walk on and wondered if the awestruck girl would study civil engineering, get a £45k starting salary and travel the world.

We can never interest everyone in science and engineering, but giving them access to information at least gives everyone a chance.

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