Chemistry is right career for female talent

Yang Meiping
A program to support career development among female students majoring in chemical engineering in vocational colleges has been launched in Shanghai.
Yang Meiping
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A program to support career development among female students majoring in chemical engineering in vocational colleges has been launched in Shanghai.

The "Grow Beyond Yourself" program, a collaboration between Evonik, one of the world leaders in specialty chemicals, and Yiyou Youth Center, a social organization for youth development, is designed to enhance career competence and soft skills of the students with learning courses, seminars, plant visits, as well as an innovation contest.

It will take place at seven vocational colleges in China this year, including Shanghai Modern Chemical Industry Vocational College, and will extend its reach to more schools through online courses.

"Talent is the driving force of industrial and social development," said Claus Rettig, president of Evonik Asia Pacific. "With the ‘Grow Beyond Yourself’ project, we want to develop diverse and skilled talent, and create value for society."

He said the chemical industry has been one of the most talent-intensive industries, and needs to attract more young talent with the right skills and potential to take the industry forward.

“I think there is a huge potential in the chemical industry, especially for women, because the industry has not used this talent pool to a big extent unfortunately,” he said.

“We want to hire the best talent and it would be very strange if the best talent are only male. It's so important to activate the female talent for the industry in order to become even more innovative to foster innovation.”

Rettig said chemistry is everywhere though it’s invisible most of the times, and it plays an important role in sustainability.

“Very often, the chemical industry is seen as a problem, but we are part of the solution,” he said. “That’s why we want to, maybe in other programs, go to the younger generation to encourage them for STEM subjects to see how important it is for society and for the environment.”

He said more and more young students have interest in chemistry and about half chemical students in Germany are female.

The project also seeks to set a college-enterprise cooperation model to promote vocational education in China.

China has placed a great emphasis on highly skilled talents, giving full play to vocational schools with policy support. Encouraging college-enterprise cooperation is among one of the policies.

Fuliang Xia, president of Evonik China, added: "This year marks the 90th anniversary of Evonik's presence in China. We are honored to launch the ‘Grow Beyond Yourself’ project on this occasion.

"We will share our expertise to support the students, hence, embracing our corporate social responsibility and facilitating college-enterprise cooperation in vocational education.”

Xia said Evonik has about 2,700 employees in China and about 35 per cent of them are female, ranging from front-line workers to high-ranking executives.

"So I would say there is a great potential for female students to choose the chemical industry for their career path," he said.

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