Published date: 11 November 2021
Around 150 Primary 4, 5, 6 & 7 pupils were inspired during a recent school week when the INEOS team spent 6 hours in the school gym in a #NetZero workout! Philip is a regular visitor to several local schools around the Grangemouth facility and with his own children attending St. Andrew’s, Philip is a familiar and welcome face to the teachers, and their headteacher.
The fun and informative sessions were always carefully thought out and highly interactive – something that anyone who experienced the challenges of home-schooling during the COVID19 lockdown might understand is not the easiest thing to make happen!
With assistance from one of his sustainability-focused colleagues, Philip took the classes through the key role of Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) when it comes to the INEOS business, its place in society, and its journey towards Net Zero.
Driven by questions from the young but well-informed students, the sessions whizzed by in the blink of an eye – but not before many eyes had been opened very wide in surprise at the amazing science, impressive statistics, and the sheer scale of operations at Grangemouth and around the INEOS world!
In a hands-on “Show and Tell” session, students and their teachers got to ask questions of the INEOS presenters and during those sessions it became obvious that the pupils were already learning a lot about their environment, Climate Change and the COP26 Summit in Glasgow. Investigating the usefulness of ‘plastics’ pupils had fun bending and flexing plastic samples, marvelling at the role of plastics in producing contact lens cases, growing food, providing clean water, enabling helicopters to fly, and making lunch-boxes easy to clean. The students also enjoyed a STEM challenge, in which they worked in teams to design and build a sturdy helipad using just paper, clips and Sellotape!
It was a delight to be involved with such highly interested and inspired pupils who had many clever questions and were very well-behaved in their attention to what can be a very difficult subject even for adults to get their heads round!
It is worth sharing the straight-shooting yet inspiring dialogue with one very thoughtful and intelligent young student, from the Primary 5 year-group.
Student: “I heard that INEOS was very bad and produces a lot of pollution, is that right?”
INEOS: “Well we don’t hide that we are one of the biggest manufacturing sites in Scotland and we do produce a lot of emissions, but we have reduced them by 37% since we bought the site at Grangemouth.”
Student: “That’s a lot, so does that mean that you were bad, but now you’re doing more things to make it better, and not produce as much pollution?”
We want to end this story by taking a moment to thank each, and every one of the real “champions of change” when it comes to genuinely inspiring the young minds and experiences of the #NetZeroGeneration – the education professionals at St. Andrews Primary School and indeed all local schools.
Therefore, would the following people please take a bow!
Mrs Devlin (Headteacher), Mr Short (Deputy Headteacher), Ms Gallagher & Ms Sloan (P4), Ms Duffy & Mrs Sharp (P5), Ms Gray & Mrs Baird (P6) and Mrs Mason & Ms Noon (P7).
And finally, borrowing a phrase from Saturday night television, a message to all those inspiring and inquisitive minds of the P4-P7 students…
“K – e – e – p learning!”
And there’s more… After our visit to St. Andrews Primary School showcased the joy that Philip regularly brings to the classroom, his colleagues at INEOS Grangemouth were delighted to hear that he had received the runner up accolade as the “Outstanding Mentor of the Year”.
The Outstanding Mentor of the Year award, sponsored by Leonardo and Kellas Midstream, was a very competitive category in the Association for Black & Minority Ethnic Engineers UK (AFBE-UK) Diversity and Inclusion Awards. The award was presented to Philip on 22nd October at an event in Aberdeen hosted by the AFBE-UK who noted his “outstanding commitment to supporting the development of young industry talent”.
Philip has been mentoring for 12 years. In the past seven years, in addition to his work with local primary and secondary schools, he has mentored over 90 postgraduate students in the field of Materials and Corrosion Engineering. He also assisted six exceptional MSc students gain admission into PhD programmes in the UK, US and Canada by providing references, guidance on research topics and selection of institutions. He has helped younger engineers develop in their careers by one-to-one coaching and, as a Fellow of the Institute of Corrosion (ICorr) and Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3), he has supported young Engineers achieve Chartered Engineer status with these institutes.
AFBE-UK promotes higher achievements in education and engineering particularly among people from black and minority ethnicity (BME) backgrounds. Their mission is to increase the number of BME Engineers who succeed professionally and support young people to explore a career in engineering. Many congratulations Philip!