Leading manufacturer of solid format bases and natural ingredients for the personal care sector, Stephenson, is continuing its support for STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) by strengthening its links with further education.
The global business employs over 100 people from its manufacturing site in Leeds and is aiming to boost its links with leading Yorkshire universities over the next 12 months. The manufacturer is working with Leeds University on student placement programmes for the first time this year. It has had a successful partnership with Huddersfield University for 10 years.
The commitment follows A level results last month which saw chemistry retain its position as the fourth most popular A level, behind maths, psychology and biology.
The number of students taking STEM subjects – chemistry, biology, computing, design and technology, mathematics, physics and other sciences rose by 3.5% compared with in 2019. A total of 54,139 students studied chemistry at A level in 2022.
This year’s A level results including chemistry have seen larger declines in top grades, but none have returned to anywhere near pre-pandemic grades. A* grades in chemistry for 2022 dropped to 13.6% from 19% in 2021 but are significantly higher than 2019’s figure of 7.2%. Grade A results in 2022 fell to 24.4% compared to 28.6% in 2021.
Recent research from the Institute of Engineering and Technology encouragingly reveals that the gap between the percentage of girls and boys who want to pursue STEM careers is shrinking.
Jamie Bentley, CEO of Stephenson Group Limited commented: “It’s encouraging to see chemistry retaining its popularity with students and the science subjects proving a popular choice for university education and as a potential career path. At Stephenson we remain passionate about creative chemistry and actively encourage study of the subject to help it grow in popularity and strengthening our links with some of our university partners is a good way in which to achieve this. It’s also important for our own recruitment strategy as we want to continue to attract the best candidates to our business. With a fifth of our workforce being engineers and qualified chemists, forging stronger links with local universities presents a positive great way for us to encourage future study of science-based subjects and also give back by sharing our own experience, industry insight and expertise.
“We aim to do all we can to inspire young people to consider taking a STEM subject by showcasing chemistry as an exciting and progress career path, and demonstrate the possibilities and opportunities that it can present for them.”