Aiming to promote STEM education, PlasticsEurope hosted a panel debate "Education Now, Innovation Tomorrow” during the 8th European Innovation Summit (EIS), organised by the Knowledge4Innovation platform (K4I). It brought together leading figures from the industry and politics, including Tibor Navracsics, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, two Socialist Members of the European Parliament from Romania Maria Grapini and Emilian Pavel MEP, as well as Richard Northcote, Chief Sustainability Officer at Covestro, and Karl-H Foerster, Executive Director, PlasticsEurope. They were joined on the panel by four winners of the European Youth Debating Competition (EYDC), a joint project of PlasticsEurope and the European Petrochemical Association (EPCA).
20161128101155-k4i.pngDuring the debate the inseparable link between the promotion of STEM education and the prospective development of innovations in general, and the plastics industry, in particular, was discussed. All panellists agreed that a sound education in STEM subjects would greatly benefit young people in finding high-level jobs in Europe. Karl-H Foerster, Executive Director, PlasticsEurope, reminded the audience that the European plastics industry seeks to secure its own future by making sure that young people with an interest in the field, are equipped with relevant skills and competences through a variety of educational programmes and partnerships with schools and universities. He also stated that the plastics industry, in comparison to others, offers jobs of a high quality and high salary nature, attracting better educated employees. 

The discussion focused on the future of young people in Europe, along with what is being done by policy-makers at both national and EU levels to stimulate job creation and to provide better future for the upcoming generations. Commissioner Navracsics noted the different programmes the European Commission has, which provide real-life training and, thus, the development of practical skills for students and young people. In turn, Richard Northcote, Chief Sustainability Officer at Covestro, touched upon some of the opportunities, his company provides for university graduates. 

For more information on PlasticsEurope’s participation at K4I, contact Wolfgang Lange.

For more information about the European Youth Debating Competition, visit its website.