EPCA & Education

EPCA is dedicated to encouraging young, talented girls and boys to learn STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and develop the right skills, also highlighting the multidisciplinary approach and the variety of interesting career paths that the chemical industry offers. EPCA develops awareness-raising campaigns to increase young people’s engagement with chemistry and the chemical industry in partnership with UNESCO, European Schoolnet and STEM Alliance. EPCA has produced three education films and several role models films which are promoted on our website and social media and through EPCA member companies via their business and educational connections. The films are distributed all over the world in the European Schoolnet and UNESCO global school and workshop network.

EPCA's Education initiatives are overseen and co-ordinated by the Young EPCA Think Tank (YETT) - an advisory body to the EPCA Board.

To view the composition of the YETT, as well as the other EPCA bodies, please click here.

Wouter Bleukx, Chairperson of the YETT, and Business Unit Manager Chlor Alkali, INOVYN, introduces the activities of the Young EPCA Think Tank (YETT) with an overview of its STEM Education activities.

(Video hosted on YouTube)

STEM Alliance: Bringing Industry and Education Together - 2018

(Video hosted on YouTube)

EPCA and PlasticsEurope launch the next edition of the EYDC (European Youth Debating Competition) for 2018

Based on the extremely successful 2016 and 2017 editions of the European Youth Debating Competition (www.eydc.eu), EYDC is now back for 2018. EPCA (the European Petrochemical Association) and PlasticsEurope once again partner up to organize a series of debating competitions for 500 students in Europe to take place between April and October 2018.

Nine countries will be hosting the National Finals: Belgium or the Netherlands for a joint “Benelux” Finals, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Some 50 youngsters between 16 and 19 years old from different schools and universities will participate in each country in these debates. The European Finals 2018 will take place in Vienna on Monday 8th October 2018 in the afternoon with a maximum of 30 previously selected winners from the National Finals, during the EPCA 52nd Annual Meeting that will be held from 7th to 10th October 2018.

The EYDC is a multifaceted educational initiative designed to give young people a unique opportunity to acquire new skills by expressing themselves and interacting in a convincing way about industry linked topics; and for our industry to connect with the new generation, listen and learn about their views. This year’s debate touches upon the topic: “Living, learning, working and moving in Smart Cities of the future: with or without plastics and petrochemicals?”.

How will we live tomorrow in the Cities of the future or “Smart Cities” engaged in a sustainable transition process? Will mobility in smart cities of the future be completely interconnected? Will the drones be delivering our goods? Will the current workplace and educational environment still exist? What will the contribution of plastics and petrochemicals be in our houses, cars and the environment?

For the participants of the EYDC, in-depth research and preparation as well as high standard of debating skills and techniques and the ability to interact with each other are necessary for the front-lines of the debate. In the end, EPCA and PlasticsEurope expect again some fruitful outcome from this year EYDC!

For more information, please visit: epca.eu/education/EYDC2018 or eydc.eu

Petro & Chemistry: Partnership for a Better Life - Did you know that petroleum is a big supporter of your daily lifestyle and helps to shape a better future? No? Let us give you a few examples: Sneakers, smartphones and toothbrushes – all of these rely on petroleum derivatives and the chemical industry in one way or another.

Call for industry and policy makers:


Science and engineering are crucial to life in the 21st century, and key to solving many of the world’s major chal­lenges. However, there is a shortage of scientists and engineers across the European Union, with 43% of manufacturing employers reporting difficulties in recruiting an appropriately skilled workforce. 

The STEM Alliance intends to consolidate and expand the work of inGenious, by bringing together further key stakeholders from industry and education in order to:

1) Promote the attractiveness and importance of STEM jobs in all industrial sectors,
2) improve and promote all existing industry-education STEM initiatives supported by industry;
3) contribute to innovation in STEM teaching, iv.) support the competitiveness of companies by ensuring a STEM-skilled workforce and
4) enhance indus­try-education collaboration at national level across all EU member states. 

Written by Joy Parvin, Director, Centre for Industry Education Collaboration, Department of Chemistry, University of York (UK)

Role model video. Nathalie Brunelle, Senior Vice-President Strategy, Development, Research, Refining & Chemicals at TOTAL, the leading oil and gas industry player and world-class chemical producer, also very active in new energies. Listen to her story!

(Video hosted on YouTube)

Role models encourage studying science

Portraits of chemical industry experts who explain the advantages of studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)

These role models are experts in the chemical industry. For today’s younger generations, they share their experiences of working in the sector, explaining their jobs, backgrounds and exciting career paths.

Watch the videos to hear their passionate stories and learn how studying the STEM fields can unlock the door to a rich, innovative and rewarding career.

Sectors based on STEM are integral to our daily lives.

Role model video. Murad Smit: Regional Business Manager for Benelux and Germany for Agility Chemical Logistics, a specialized company providing logistic solutions for chemical customers all over the globe. Listen to his story!

(Video hosted on YouTube)

EPCA presented the Belgian learning vehicle XperiLAB.be® during its 48th Annual Meeting in Vienna from 2nd to 8th October 2014. The truck is equipped with mini-laboratories where pupils can try out real scientific experiments, helping them to understand the role science plays in everyday life. An original way of learning science.

(Video hosted on YouTube)

Two young scientists make experiments in the Belgian XperiLAB.be®.

Ana Montenegro-Garcia: Polyolefins Technical Service and Development Manager at Repsol Quimica, a global energy company that has created an intelligent and sustainable energy model. Listen to her story !

(Video hosted on YouTube)

Role model video. Joerg Schmitz: Supply Chain Director Hydrocarbons at the Dow Chemical Company, a leader in specialty chemicals delivering products and solutions to sectors such as electronics, water, energy, and coatings. Listen to his story !

(Video hosted on YouTube)

Role model video. John McGuffin: Feedstock & Optimization Manager, at ExxonMobil Chemical Europe, the world's largest publicly traded international oil and gas company. Listen to his story !

(Video hosted on YouTube)

Role model video. Wouter Bleukx: Business Unit Manager Vinyls at INEOS ChlorVinyls, Europe’s largest producer of PVC. Listen to his story !

(Video hosted on YouTube)

EPCA welcomed XperiLAB.be® to Vienna

EPCA, the European Petrochemical Association, organized special educational events during its 48th Annual Meeting in Vienna from the 2nd to the 8th October 2014, in cooperation with the Foundation Enterprise/Institute (FEI), EPCA Austrian members, UNESCO and European Schoolnet/inGenious. The events were a part of EPCA’s ongoing efforts to convince talented young people to opt for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) studies that will lead them to a variety of challenging career paths.

EPCA presented the Belgian XperiLAB.be®, a learning vehicle run by the Belgian FEI, to 715 Austrian schoolchildren and 60 teachers, EPCA delegates, the Austrian Ministry of Education and the general public. The truck is equipped with three mini-laboratories where pupils can try out real scientific experiments, helping them to understand the role science plays in everyday life. The truck currently travels from school to school only in Belgium. It offers an original way of learning science and understanding the key elements of our environment, helping young people to develop the skills needed for facing the challenges of the future.

On the occasion of the EPCA Annual Meeting in Vienna, the XperiLAB.be® truck was presented for the first time abroad. It was located along the side entrance of the Hotel Hilton am Stadtpark in Vienna. The program of experiments inside the vehicle was available in English and German and also included the projection of the two EPCA films, “Chemistry: All About You” and “Science: Where Can It Take You?” respectively at the start and at the end of each session in the truck.

In addition, EPCA organized a workshop that focused on “When and why do children make STEM career?”

For more information about XperiLAB.be®: www.xperilab.be - www.naturalsciences.be

I really got a huge insight into the chemicals industry which I otherwise never would have experienced at this stage.

During my days at the conference … I was able to thoroughly understand new technologies, tools, processes and ideas I was not aware of

2011 Student Workshop

EPCA offers student workshops to talented students in chemistry and related fields. In 2011, 14 award-winning students from Europe, the Middle East, Russia, Brazil, India and the USA had the opportunity to meet with senior representatives of EPCA member companies and participate in business sessions and round tables. Students appreciated the opportunity to learn "from within" about the objectives, strategies and structure of the chemicals industry and see for themselves the wide-ranging career possibilities on offer.

Read the students’ key findings from the 2011 EPCA workshop

Science: Where can it take you?

Working for the chemical industry offers young people rewarding job prospects, interesting career opportunities and the possibility to contribute to a more sustainable world.

Watch EPCA’s ‘Science: Where Can It Take You?’ video to find out how studying Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) can lead to a fascinating and fulfilling career in the chemical industry.

Read EPCA’s factsheet to learn more about the video and where a career in chemistry can take you.

Teachers’ corner

Visit EPCA’s teachers’ corner to explore our innovative tools for teaching chemistry and resources to organize engaging classroom activities.

Science chats: TALK2US

The TALK2US initiative, a collaboration with inGenious, involved online chats between the chemical industry and students. A joint project between EPCA and APPE (Association of Petrochemicals Producers in Europe) within the Xperimania series, the chats focused how the chemical industry can provide interesting careers working on sustainable solutions for everyday living. Apart from giving young people an insight into industry, it also offered industry experts a better understanding of young people’s perception of sustainable chemistry. Students asked fundamental questions like ‘How will chemistry help in the future?’ and ‘How realistic is the assumption that renewable energy sources can replace fossil fuels?’.

Read the full transcript of the chat

Find out how studying science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) can lead to a fascinating and fulfilling career in the chemical industry.

(Video hosted on YouTube)

Chemistry provides the world with sustainable solutions to meet many of our daily needs. Learn how chemistry helps us access sustainable drinking water, food, clothing, health and health care, energy- and emission-friendly housing, transport, communication and education.

(Video hosted on YouTube)