Whilst Lubrizol isn't a common household name to most people, their products and technologies are in the things you use every day - quite likely on surfaces and in fluids in the vehicles you drive, in the shampoos and soaps you use, in a medicine you take, in the clothes you wear and in electronic devices and plumbing systems in your home.
Lubrizol is a global chemical company with a European Research and Development facility in Hazelwood in Derbyshire, and manufacturing sites in Huddersfield, Barnsley, and Mostyn, North Wales amongst others located around the UK. They combine complex specialty chemicals to optimize the quality, performance and value of their customers' products and, most importantly, reducing the environmental impact.
Although a few individuals at the Hazelwood’s Research and Development facility have been STEM Ambassadors, almost since the programme’s inception, it is over that last two years that the current programme has been developed. This has been as part of a strategic move to create general awareness of the Company, to attract the right candidates for future intakes of Apprentices and Graduates, to support staff development and to increase support for the local Community to make a greater impact. The team working on the developments for Creating Shared Value are Karen Clegg, Global Communication and Community Manager; Claire Hollingshurst, Quality Systems Manager and CSR lead, Clare Edwards, HR Partner and Lawrie Peck, Additives Testing Manager (Mechanical) and dedicated long standing STEM Ambassador.
During Year 1, the planning of the team focussed on mapping the volunteering that was already happening in the UK’s largest facility at Hazelwood, finding out about the local opportunities for volunteering and choosing programmes from Universities and local schools that would meet the company’s aims. They also took a long look at internal planning, developing a centralised system where people could find and apply for all of the company endorsed volunteering options.
Holding a Creating Shared Value event for employees in January 2017, was a great way of introducing the endorsed organisations offering volunteering opportunities to show employees how they could get involved. 42 employees attended and following the event they saw an increase in employee volunteers.
The STEM Ambassador Hub North Midlands, South & East Yorkshire were involved as were the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and local organisations involved with both young people and community groups.
Volunteers wanting to work with young people are encouraged to become STEM Ambassadors and regular induction sessions are held at the Hazelwood site. They then work with numerous organisations who facilitate the activity.
Part of the Lubrizol volunteering activity supports Government priorities funded through the Careers and Enterprise Company. In particular, they are involved in working with Derby City schools which were Phase 1 of the Opportunity Areas.
The work in Derby has a focus on supporting young people to develop their employability skills through CV writing and mock interviews.
STEM Ambassadors were also involved in designing and hosting the Regional Top of the Bench competition run by the RSC at the University of Derby. The RSC has a great case study on their website highlighting the role of the company.
Inspiring activities are carried out every year at Anthony Gell School in Wirksworth, supporting the transition of young people from primary to secondary school. Utilising STEM Construction activities with Tetrahedron and K’Nex building kits, team based activities utilise core physics, technology and mathematical skills to promotes relationship building, collaboration and effective communication within a newly formed group of individuals that will become a new year group in secondary at the start of the new academic year. Whilst the STEM resources are provided by the STEM Ambassador Hub, the team managing and delivering theses highly energetic sessions are from Lubrizol. Mr Kelly, Headteacher said,
“The positive effect these events have on all pupils and staff never fails to excite, year on year. It’s certainly a great ice-breaker for all students and staff alike which sets the standards and expectations for when the students start school on September. Thanks to Lubrizol for repeatedly supporting this annual event in the school calendar.”
As a manufacturing company, Lubrizol saw the opportunity to work alongside the Derby Manufacturing UTC, designing a curriculum based project on Chemical Engineering to complement the mechanical and electronic engineering projects already being studied by the students. Additionally, Lubrizol helped to fit out the Chemistry Laboratories and has provided numerous on-site visits to its Hazelwood facility to enrich 6th Form chemistry studies and provide real-life context to important subject areas such as Health and Safety.
Over the last two years, Lubrizol has also supported and conducted focussed enrichment tours and 'Ask the Professional' sessions to a wide range of educational establishments, including Brooksby College (Tribology, Maintenance and Inspection of Mechanical equipment), Derby College, Derby Grammar School (enriching KS4 & 5 Chemistry studies), Career Talks and Seminars (Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Ashbourne; The Ecclesbourne School, Duffield and Belper High School). All support interactions have also provided the opportunity to enhance teacher’s currency of their specialist subjects from a technological, commercial, industrial perspective. A key example of this is through the Teacher Enrichment lectures that are delivered by a team of Lubrizol chemist and strategic technology professionals at the annual Top of the Bench Competition, held at the University of Derby
The Outreach Team consider the impact of all of their activities has had a marked effect on the company through regular feedback from staff and communications from the organisations with whom they work.
The STEM Ambassador programme is an excellent vehicle from which to promote how a leading world class specialist research and development facility utilises all aspects of STEM as part of its core operations. It provides a relevant and exciting platform to offer a wide range of staff development opportunities and at the same time raises awareness, knowledge and experience of the Lubrizol Corporation, its core functions and areas of expertise. This in turn supports its recruitment needs, exciting and inspiring the next generation of Lubrizol chemists, engineers and support specialists.
It has also created a platform for discussion between the UK plants across two divisions and multiple sites with the sharing of best practise and developing ideas.
Lubrizol’s contribution to the local community is growing at a fast rate, is really valued by the schools and the name of Lubrizol amongst young people and their teachers as a quality employer is being recognised more and more!