If we are to influence the next generation of scientists and engineers it is vital to give their teachers the best possible opportunities to experience these subjects in real life. Science and engineering are at the heart of everything we do and polymeric materials have played a huge role in shaping our society; sadly, thisis not always presented in the most postive way. The Polymer Study Tours allow us to redress this balance and present a more positive view of polymers whilst addressing the key issues around their impact on the environment.
Providing practicing and trainee teachers with high quality training is hugely important, but expensive. During the two days of a Polymer Study Tours teachers will cover all of the polymer-related concepts contained within the secondary school curriculum for Design and Technology. We will boost their subject knowledge, provide engaging activities for their students and give a insight in to the polymer industry in practice in order to increase their confidence, knowledge, and enthusiasm for teaching these topics.
The courses cost around £650 per delegate to run but they must be free of charge to the teachers, as in times of decreasing school budgets and increased pressure on teachers' time it would simply be impossible for staff to be released from school and pay such a high fee. Part of the package offered to teachers is a contribution of up to £250 towards their travel costs and the cost of replacement staff to cover their lessons. We hold the courses partly at the weekend to minimise teachers' time out of school.
We rely heavily on the support of companies working within all aspects of the polymer sector to sponsor the Tours and cover the cost to teachers. Previous sponsors have spoken very highly of the courses and benefits they have reaped from their involvement. These are just a few comments from our current sponsors:
"We think it is important for our business and our sector to achieve a better understanding of the industry not just in schools but in the local society and the public at large. Sponsoring the PSTs is not only a means of encouraging students to consider a career in polymers but it is also an important way of improving public perceptions of our industry, the importance and contributions of which is often undervalued."
"Sponsoring teachers from the communities close to our plants is particularly beneficial, not least in encouraging students' interest in a career with us and in our apprenticeship programme."
"Raising awareness and education within secondary schools of the UK polymer industry is essential for its future as we continue to seek talented individuals at all levels - well informed teachers can influence pupils' subject and career choices/ The popularity of these courses is testament to their success in providing real hands-on ecperience of our industry to the teaching profession. The is a major reason we are proud to be a sponsor."