CIEC and Industry

Industry Case Studies


Working with CIEC can:
Raise the profile of your company in the local community,  leading  to positive publicity
Facilitate appropriate links with local schools and enhance the communication skills of your staff both internally and
through community outreach programmes
Raise the number of local children considering a future in science based careers to generate future employees

Thomas Swan & Company support CIEC with core funding of £15,000 a year:


Tom SwanHarry Swan

Tom Swan began providing financial support in 1996, with an initial grant of £200,000 over three years. Initially, funds were directed to specific initiatives; hence Children Challenging Industry was born. In recent years, the company has moved to supporting CIEC’s core activities, and Harry Swan tells Joy Parvin why they continue to do so.


Why has Thomas Swan been a long term supporter of CIEC, beginning with the concept of CCI in the North East in 1996?
The impact of highlighting the skills shortage and the need to educate children early in their lives has been significant. We have had the first work experience candidate at Thomas Swan who links his interest in our company directly to the tour he made here with his local primary school. I consider this to be a success as it is almost certainly the beginning of an increasing trend which we are already seeing in the recruitment of local apprentices.

Each year you now donate £15,000 to CIEC. Why do you choose to offer such a significant sum to CIEC?
CIEC is our primary charitable donation because it is quite simply supporting our long term future as a chemical company in the UK. Without interested and skilled students entering into our industry we will struggle to survive. To demonstrate this you just need to look at the acute shortage of chemical engineers in the UK at the moment. Experienced and qualified candidates can name their salary and quite often get it! It is making the UK chemical industry less competitive on a global basis as we need to pay more for our skilled employees.

We believe in the organisation and the impact it has on young people and their future choice of careers. CIEC aims to open the eyes of teachers and children to their local companies and what role chemicals play in our lives. The children are then free to choose their own paths.

If you were to persuade other companies to support CIEC - what would you say to them?

Stop thinking about short term success and look towards long term stability and sustainable growth. Even £5K per year will help towards ensuring we have an educated, skilled and motivated workforce of the future. Just skip a business class flight to the States and find some way to support this vital organisation.

Johnson Matthey also support CIEC core activities:


Johnson Matthey has recently given CIEC £10,000 and Joy Parvin asked Sally Jones, Johnson Matthey’s Group Corporate Communications Manager why they chose to support CIEC’s core activities.

Johnson Matthey has been a long term supporter of CIEC, beginning with Children Challenging Industry (CCI) in the North East many years ago. What was it that attracted you to engage in the project?

We were keen to see what we could do to encourage children and young people to consider a career in science. They are our next generation of potential recruits and ensuring we have enthusiastic and talented scientists is crucial to the future sustainability of our industry. 

In the North East we had noted a general misconception of the chemical industry and we were keen to work with our local community to encourage an improved understanding of what we did as an industry and the important role our products play in people’s everyday lives. 

We had seen the results of pilot CCI programmes in other regions, and were impressed with the outcomes and felt the approach could work well for us. 

It gave us the chance to get involved through site visits which offered opportunities for personal development of our own employees, as well as benefitting the children.  It also allowed us to develop links with local schools.   

You could have donated this amount elsewhere. What made CIEC stand out and deserve this contribution?

We feel that donating a substantial sum to a few carefully chosen organisations or charities will have a greater impact on the beneficiaries than donating smaller sums to a large number of charities.

Johnson Matthey is committed to supporting projects that promote an interest in science among young people and as a result, we have researched and participated in a wide range of different programmes over the years.  CCI stands out as one that really does change young people’s perceptions about the chemical industry and a career in science.  Compared to other programmes, we feel it provides a great return on our investment.  Not only does it have a measurable impact on the children involved, it also offers employee development opportunities and aligns well with our strategic objectives.

If you were to persuade other companies to support CIEC - what would you say to them?

If you are keen to become more involved with schools in your area and get your employees enthused, the programmes from CIEC are a great way to do it that will bring you an excellent return on your investment.  In addition, if your objectives also include raising your company’s profile as a good neighbour, the programme provides great opportunities for that angle too.