AkzoNobel takes a brush to students’ preconceptions of industry

Posted on 11 Jul 2012 by Tim Brown

This week AkzoNobel Decorative Paints in Slough will host a National Work Experience Programme, attended by a group of local students aged between 14 and 15.

The programme aims to provide an insight into the working world, whilst motivating the group to strive to reach their full potential.  The “Insight Week” will help to highlight the extensive number of career options that exist within the manufacturing industry.  Participants will take part in multiple workshops, classroom sessions and group and individual activities, where an abundance of experience and advice will be at their disposal.

During the programme, the students will work with teams in every part of the AkzoNobel business, starting in the factory that manufactures Dulux paint, working through every aspect of a product life cycle, taking a paint from its raw materials through the mixing on the paint line, and into the cans, before it then goes through a branding and marketing approach to the shelves in the Dulux Decorator Centres. By the end of the week, the students will have to present their ideas, and what they’ve learnt during the week to a group of senior management, to see if their ideas can have a real impact on any part of the business. Past and present students, and employees, will have mentored the group during the week, and shared some of their experiences along the way.

Felicity Marsh, recruitment team, AkzoNobel UK&Ireland said: “This is a dedicated programme over the course of the week, designed to give students a ‘behind the scenes’ look at a colour company, as well as giving them more insight and experience into what is involved in a real-life workplace.”

Guy Williams, Managing Director Northern Europe, welcomed this first Insights Week in the UK, saying: “At the age of the students coming onto this week, I didn’t necessarily know what I was going to do.  Being able to attend something like this to see what is involved in bringing a product to market, how a company works, and the variety of roles on offer, would have been invaluable to me, as I hope it will be for the students visiting us.”

Nancy Lalor Head of Work Based Learning at East Berkshire Education Business Partnership said: “We have worked closely with AkzoNobel to develop the Work Inspiration week and feel this is a fantastic opportunity for students to gain an overall business insight into the organisation. The enthusiasm and commitment from the team at AkzoNobel has been great and I feel sure the students will have a great time and leave with a good all round understanding of how all the various departments come together to form a successful and forward thinking company.  Taking this model forward we have already developed similar opportunities with other manufacturing companies and are also looking to develop workshops with AkzoNobel around diversity in the workplace which will hopefully be rolled out in the next academic year”.