Published: October 20, 2017
Published: October 20, 2017

Students Make the Grade with PPG and Ahead Partnership

Over the past two years PPG has been proud to engage and inspire young people in schools across the Leeds City Region, UK with the help of the Ahead Partnership and their Make the Grade program. As the project comes to an end, PPG leave with lasting impressions on thousands of young people from over 15 different high-schools and the fantastic role they have played in these young people's education is one worthy of praise and celebration.

Various events took place during our wonderful partnership with Ahead Partnerships and with the help of our 30 exceptional PPG staff volunteers from our PPG Birstall site, over an incredible 1100 young people across the Yorkshire region have been able to receive an encouraging, practical and productive insight into a future where their STEM skills may be fundamental.

To develop these skill sets PPG and Ahead Partnership organized several intriguing practical events these being: STEM days, workplace visits, an exclusive STEM day for girls, business & enterprise days and practice interviews.

STEM Day for Girls

The STEM days allowed students to take a break from their usual timetables and interactive with our upbeat and enthusiastic staff who delivered challenges focusing on manufacturing, engineering, science and ICT. Not only was it an invaluable experience for the students, PPG volunteers also took the opportunity to dive in and shared their industry expertise with the inquisitive young people. Students worked collectively in teams, supported by a PPG mentor teams, went head to head in the 10 rounds of exciting challenges.

Workplace Visits

Year 10 students visited PPG’s Birstall laboratory and factory for a day to improve students’ understanding of the world of work. Over the course of the day students were treated to workshops that introduced PPG's global brands and demonstrated some insider PPG expert knowledge on the different processes and procedures paints and coatings go through before they reach their final end user. To put knowledge into practice, students were also led on an exclusive tour around the production facilities at the site.

The Business & Enterprise Day

The Business & Enterprise day introduced the world of work to Year 7 students and encouraged them to think about their futures careers. For this event, 5 PPG volunteers set an imaginative challenge of getting the pupils to create a new brand of paint. The pupils worked in small groups to deliver a 'sales pitch' at the end of the challenge to the PPG volunteers and delivered strategies around cost, customer specifications and requirements, budgets and how they'd market their product. Despite the pressure of the presentation and our PPG 'dragons' the year 7 pupils did remarkably well, coming up with all kinds of whacky and colorful ideas they thrilled the judges.

Make the Grade program enabled us to develop stronger links with local schools, and improved our staff engagement and corporate social responsibility efforts. In addition, we introduced many of our region’s best and brightest to PPG. This exposure is critical as we look to attract the next generation to our facilities.
Paul Dowie, director of human resources, UK and Ireland

Overall, the partnership in this program has been nothing short of inspirational and encouraging for both the young people and PPG volunteers alike. The partnership has had an incredible and lasting effect on both the thousands of young people and PPG volunteers that took part, together they have made a real difference to their own futures in industry.