Girls get chemicals industry experience

The cohort from Windsor Girls School

For the second year running paint manufacturer AkzoNobel has hosted Insight Week, to give young people hands on work experience in the chemicals industry. This year 12 students from Windsor Girls school joined the company for a week.

The students spent a week getting behind the scenes insight into AkzoNobel’s leading decorative paint brand, Dulux.

During the programme, the pupils have been given the opportunity to work with teams in every part of the AkzoNobel business, gaining work experience in fields including supply chain, purchasing, research and development, marketing, finance, sustainability and HR. The girls were mentored by AkzoNobel employees during the week and presented a summary of their lessons learned to a group of senior management staff today.

Although this is the second time AkzoNobel has supported this work experience week, it is the first to be held in conjunction with Industrial Cadets, an initiative launched in January this to introduce young people aged 12-16 to the workplace and teach them about work ethic and behaviours as well as giving them insight into a range of technical skills sets and applications.

Ruth Saunders, AkzoNobel’s UK recruitment manager said the company was delighted to welcome the students. “Working with Industrial Cadets this year has helped further improve the programme, and we look forward to repeating it next year. It is vital that we educate young people about the opportunities that exist in industry, both to help them think about their future careers and to support the next generation of AkzoNobel employees.”

Student feedback

Mairead Smith (Year 10): During Mairead’s week at AkzoNobel she was involved in group meetings, learnt about the supply chain, was shown how to create a website, discovered what paint consists of and got practical experience in CV writing, marketing and communications.

Mairead said: “My Insight Week with AkzoNobel has been a very valuable and enjoyable experience. I have learnt lots about many different areas of the business, and now have a greater understanding as to what AkzoNobel is and does as a company. I have found this week very enjoyable as it has been my first time working in an office environment and I have been able to experience this with my friends.”

 Imogen Kay (Year 10) : Imogen spent her week at AkzoNobel in the HR department, learning about the different functions of HR including internal communications and digital learning, and responding to employees’ queries. She also learnt about other elements of the company, such as the importance of sustainability, how the manufacturing process works, and the complicated process involved in testing, mixing and making paint.

Imogen said: “It was an amazing experience that has given me real insight into a real business with friendly people that have taught me a lot.”