A-level students visit ALS Environmental

01.12.2016 Royal Leamington Spa College A-level students visited the Coventry site of ALS Environmental as part of Chemistry Week.

A-level visit ALS Coventry

The students discovered the array of chemical tests and analysis that are needed to make our waste water safe and were treated to a tour of ALS Environmental’s state-of-the-art facilities on Torrington Avenue in Coventry.  They also heard from members of staff from all areas of the business and learnt about where a career in chemistry could take them.

The visit was organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry and took place as part of Chemistry Week, a national week celebrating the chemical sciences across the UK.  The Midlands has already benefited hugely from Chemistry Week with Britain’s first astronaut, Helen Sharman visiting the National Space Centre in Leicester to complete the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Mission: Starlight experiment and speak to the public. 

ALS Environmental is responsible for checking waste water quality for half the country, and has sites throughout England.  The company also performs important chemical tests for clients ranging from decontamination of land to detecting legionella bacteria.

Nick Barsby, sales and marketing manager at ALS said: “This visit is so important to us.  As a company, ALS Environmental sees investment in staff as a top priority, and this is just taking that one step further.  It’s great to be able to share our facilities with the next generation of scientists.”

Selina Kermode, Royal Society of Chemistry education coordinator for the Midlands, based at the University of Warwick, said: “Today has been wonderful.  It’s great to be able to get students out of the classroom to make connections between what they’re learning and real-life situations and ALS has done that brilliantly.”

Chris Law, inorganic chemistry operations manager at ALS Environmental and member of the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “This kind of thing is vital to us as a company.  We take on plenty of school leavers as employees so it’s great to meet them today and understand what they’re studying at school.”  Chris spoke to students about some of the analytical techniques performed by ALS for customers.  Chris was helping out during Chemistry Week and joining in with the Royal Society of Chemistry #Time4Chem campaign for all members to donate 175 minutes of their time to mark the 175th anniversary of the Society.

Andy Horobin, organic chemistry operations manager at ALS Environmental explained to the students about a new technique being developed to look for vanishingly small quantities of a contaminant in water.  “It’s equivalent to looking for one drop of water in 44 Olympic swimming pools!” he told the audience.

Feedback from teachers was very positive with 100% of staff reporting that they felt better equipped to advise students on careers pathways from chemistry following the event.

Royal Leamington Spa College offers a range of A-levels, including chemistry. For more information click here or call 0300 456 0049.