​21st primary school visit to Johnson Matthey in Royston

Johnson Matthey’s Emission Control Technologies site in Royston received its 21st visit from a local primary school last week as part of the company’s Children’s Challenging Industry (CCI) programme. 

What is the CCI programme?

The aim of the programme is to show children, aged 10 to 11, how inspiring and rewarding a career in science and engineering can be. 
Since 2013, Johnson Matthey has sponsored a specialist science teacher to work with nine local primary schools in the Royston area, to support their coverage of the national curriculum. 

The teacher conducts special science lessons aimed at engaging the children with practical science.  At the end of their studies, the children are invited to Johnson Matthey’s Emission Control Technologies facilities in Royston to see how what they’ve learned in the classroom can be applied in the workplace.

What happens during the school visit?

The children are given a tour of the technology centre where catalysts for cars and trucks are developed. They get to participate in lots of hands on activities. One such activity, as seen in the photo below, is designed to show how the catalyst is coated - by using tomato ketchup!

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They also get to visit the vehicle testing labs and participate in a demonstration of how a soot filter works.

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Finally, they also make their own ‘washcoat’ and see large robots in action (main photo). 

Encouraging a future generation of engineers and scientists

The shortage of science and engineering graduates is a concern for the UK government and companies like Johnson Matthey. However, the problem actually starts much earlier as not enough children are choosing science subjects at GCSE and A Level. 

Statistics show that many students make their minds up about career choices at a young age, and have misconceptions of what a career in science or engineering can offer. 

It is hoped that school programmes like Johnson Matthey’s will encourage children to think about studying the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects with the aim of taking up a science or engineering based career.

Johnson Matthey’s school programme is beginning to work

The primary school teacher who accompanied the children last week said he had recently spoken to the parents of a child who came on a visit a few years ago. She was so inspired by what she saw she has chosen to study all three science subjects at GCSE. A sign that the programme is beginning to work.