Director, INEOS Group
Tom is a director of chemicals group INEOS with responsibility for corporate affairs and communications and the development of business in new territories. After a 20-year career with ICI, he came into INEOS in January 2001 as CEO of INEOS Fluor. He subsequently became CEO of INEOS ChlorVinyls and then INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe.
Tom is president of the European Petrochemicals Association, vice president of Plastics Europe, chairman of Cogent, the Sector Skills Council for the science-based industries, and sits on the CBI’s Climate Change Board.
How has your company helped improve the image of manufacturing?
INEOS engages with our neighbourhood schools close to each of our major UK manufacturing sites. This varies from direct financial support for school projects to organising school visits. At our Grangemouth site in central Scotland, we organise a major event each year called SET (Science Engineering and Technology) Fair where, over a two week period, 2,000 local children have the opportunity to get hands-on experience of science and engineering, assisted by our staff and their teachers.
What have you personally contributed to help improve the image of manufacturing?
In addition to my INEOS role, I am chairman of Cogent, the Sector Skills Council for the science- based industries and [here] I’m able to champion a major thrust in apprenticeship development in the UK.
I also work with the Royal Society of Chemistry to sponsor their support for the Chemistry Olympiad where the very best UK chemistry ‘A’ Level students compete with their counterparts from around the world.
What more needs to be done?
Our experience from SET Fair is that the best thing that industry can do is get young people excited about engineering and manufacturing, and that the best way to do that is to create opportunities for hands-on activities and for interaction with young scientists and engineers. In that way, any preconceptions that they have about a ‘boring’ career can be quickly dispelled by the example of committed and passionate young engineers and scientists.