On Thursday 11 September the Chemelot Campus was the venue for the official kick-off of Chemelot2Discover, the new educational program for kids. Chemelot2Discover is the successor of the Youth & Chemistry project in which participating companies introduced regional kids to the world of chemistry in the past twenty years.
The aim of the new program is wider and the approach is contemporary: introducing kids at a young age to the activities at Chemelot in combination with talent development in the fields of science, chemistry and technology.
At the kick-off meeting the new name and the new logo, suggested by pupils of the participating schools, were revealed. The program is an initiative of seven companies based at Chemelot (DSM, SABIC, LANXESS, OCI Nitrogen, Sitech, EdeA and Intertek) and has been developed in cooperation with Discovery Center Continium from Kerkrade, the Netherlands.
Chemelot2Discover aims to fan interest in science, chemistry and technology already at a young age. It is a playful and interactive multi-component program meant for pupils from primary school groups 7 and 8 in the Sittard/Geleen region. Participation in the program is a fixed part of the curriculum for many schools around here: each year some 1300 pupils from 50 schools participate. In the past few years the inflow of students in technical education in the region has increased.
Ilona Smeets, chairwoman of the Youth and Chemistry steering group and working for DSM HR Netherlands: “To me it’s important that the ideas of the old program are retained in a new innovative program and that we have also been able to make it more sustainable, for instance by teaming up with seven companies.”
The launch of Chemelot2Discover took place in the presence of some 80 children, representatives from municipal executives in the region, the seven initiators and the Continium. Hans Gubbels, director of Continium: “When you see the kids’ enthusiasm about the new program you can only conclude that technology and chemistry are certainly not dumb or boring. This is a great example of cooperation between the companies, Continium and the schools.”
The pupils who had suggested the new name and the new logo were presented with a nice prize. Mayor Ralf Krewinkel of Beek commented: “The companies at Chemelot provide a major part of the jobs in this region. By introducing children at an early age to science, chemistry and technology we hope we can interest them in these fields, thus securing the supply of future employees.”