20 Mar 2015

Intertek, the leading global quality solutions provider, opened its Sunbury laboratory doors today to Twickenham and Hampton Academy science students to get a taste of 'science in action', in a bid to encourage more young people into science for British Science Week (13-22 March).

With employers reporting a lack of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) candidates for recruitment, Intertek believes that key to reversing this trend is to provide young people with the chance to see the STEM opportunities open to them at all entry levels.

Pupils from Twickenham and Hampton Academies, who are all studying science including A- level Chemistry, enjoyed a visit to Intertek's labs in Sunbury, where they were joined by the Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable for a demonstration by Intertek scientists on distillation, as seen on recent BBC Planet Oil programme, as well as hands on smoke point analysis. A tour of the Intertek Sunbury laboratory, which tests fuels and lubricants for major oil companies and supports the airlines at nearby Heathrow, showed many of the petro-chemical tests carried out by the laboratory's scientists.

The Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable said: "Britain is today a world leader in science and technology, however maintaining that leadership means that science and engineering-based companies like Intertek need a new generation of scientists, trained to research, develop and innovate. I am delighted to visit Intertek Sunbury today with these Twickenham and Hampton Academy students, and hope this visit and all the other opportunities happening during British Science Week, will inspire and encourage students to work hard to be part of the UK's scientific future."

Students also had the opportunity to meet with staff and recent graduates to ask about their experiences in a science career. Intertek is engaging with a number of schools during British Science week in a bid to encourage more young people into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

Rob van Dorp, Chief Executive of Intertek UK said: "We know that there are still shortages when it comes to recruiting STEM candidates across industries. We feel that not only is it important to the future of our business to address this, but we also want to help students realise that these subjects can offer a rewarding and dynamic career with many possibilities.

"Giving students an opportunity to visit our laboratories and talk to our scientists enables them to find out first-hand what life as a scientist is like."

Intertek, which grew from a company founded by light bulb inventor Thomas Edison, currently offers more than 35 young people a year - across the UK - the opportunity to join the company through apprenticeships, graduate traineeships, and on-the-job training. With more than a third of companies (39%) having difficulty finding staff for STEM roles, according to a recent CBI report, Intertek believes that engaging with young people is key to reversing this trend.

Tim Shehu, All Together Guidance Professional for Twickenham and Hampton Academies said: "We are grateful to Intertek for taking the time to invite our pupils in for Science Week; it's a great opportunity for them to see a working laboratory. Seeing the experiments up close and having the chance to look at different types of laboratories and testing has been really exciting as students have an understanding about the world of work and some of the job roles they could be doing after leaving school. Several of our students are considering careers in science and this trip has shown them the variety of options available to them."

With more than 2,000 expert staff in 66 locations across UK & Eire, Intertek employs scientists, engineers, auditors and laboratory technicians with a diverse range of expertise, technical and scientific skills. Intertek scientists and engineers test, inspect and certify everything from the quality of crude oil and high performance car engines to the safety of cancer-busting drugs and children's toys.

For further information, please contact:

Media enquiries:

Joanne Merriweather
UK PR Manager
Email: Joanne.merriweather@intertek.com

About Intertek

Intertek is a leading quality solutions provider to industries worldwide. From auditing and inspection, to testing, training, advisory, quality assurance and certification, Intertek adds value for its customers by helping improve the quality and safety of their products, assets and processes. With a network of more than 1,000 laboratories and offices and over 38,000 people in more than 100 countries, Intertek supports companies' success in the global marketplace, by helping customers to meet end users' expectations for safety, sustainability, performance, integrity and desirability in virtually any market worldwide. Visit www.intertek.com