George Allen a former Fowey River Academy along with 3 others beat off stiff competition to win the exciting and innovative opportunity of a career with Imerys.
Although the initial pledge was to recruit two school leavers, Imerys managers found it so difficult to choose between those who made it through to the final stage, they ended up employing four.
Three of the lucky students are in the first weeks of apprenticeships in engineering and production, and the fourth is being sponsored through A Level studies while working at Imerys outside of term time.
Jeremy Barnard, Imerys HR Manager, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome these four young people into Imerys. In their own individual ways, each student really shone during the presentation and interview stages of the process and were typical of the type of person we were looking for.
“Three of the students are now at Cornwall College St Austell gaining a broader understanding of engineering and production, and eventually we will support them in reaching their own career goals within Imerys. We know they are as motivated and committed as we are to making this a success.”
George said ” the competition has been a life changing experience, and one I was not expecting to win.”
The unique opportunities arose when the Employment and Skills Board (part of Cornwall Council) appealed to local companies to help young people into employment, raising levels of aspiration and progression to higher level skills and education in the St Austell and China Clay areas.
Ashley Shopland, Head of Imerys’ UK Kaolin Operations, responded to the appeal and made a pledge to work with Fowey Community College and Brannel School with the aim of employing two school leavers in a field of their choice.
Branded the Career Aspirations Initiative, the scheme not only underlined Imerys’ commitment to Cornwall and empowering its workforce, but to the future of the china clay industry.
The opportunities were not advertised and filled in the traditional manner, but students were selected by a process developed in conjunction with both schools and Cornwall College.
In the first stage representatives from Imerys and Cornwall College introduced the opportunity to 300 Year 11 pupils at Fowey and Brannel. Each school then submitted a shortlist of interested candidates who took part in a tour of Imerys, including the china clay production process, port operations and laboratories, to gain a deeper understanding of the company.
Students were then split into small groups and guided through a project by mentors from Imerys, to answer two specific questions:
• What will Imerys Minerals Ltd look like in 10 to 15 years’ time?
• What should Imerys be doing differently from what it does today?
Jeremy Barnard said: “Opportunities like this don’t come along every day. It will provide the successful candidates with full training, access to higher education and long-term career prospects in an international company.
“We are very proud to have worked with Fowey and Brannel schools and Cornwall College and we wish the students the very best of luck as they embark on this exciting journey.”
Imerys continues to recruit graduates and modern apprentices as well as their annual programme of giving placements to interns and also work experience students from local schools.