Student stars of a challenge set by the Health Business Unit of global consumer goods business RB were rewarded with a day at the company’s state-of-the-art Hull site.
The challenge saw students from Hull’s employer-led school, Ron Dearing University Technical College (UTC), work with RB researchers and scientists to develop new ideas for RB’s Gaviscon brand, which tackles heartburn and indigestion.
Students from two teams spent the day at RB’s site in the city, visiting the analytical, formulation and microbiology laboratories as well as the production line where RB manufactures over 300 million consumer units every year. The students also got a sneak preview of the new £105 million Science and Innovation Centre which is set to open later this year.
The eight Year 10 (age 14) students enjoyed lunch with apprentices and university students on year-in-industry placements at RB, learning about career opportunities at the company.
The Gaviscon Challenge winning product proposals were a fast-acting and portable spray and Gaviscon jellies, both designed to provide convenient relief of the pain caused by heartburn and indigestion. The teams were made up of Nathan Carter, Carter Lees, Jordan Aitcheson-Smith and Evaldas Ulcinas in team one, and Dominik Gal, Charlie Kearton, Chloe Marshall and Ben Fisher in team two.
Dr Bruce Charlesworth, RB Vice President of R&D and a Ron Dearing UTC Governor, said: “Our strategic partnership with Ron Dearing UTC is hugely important to the region and our combined future success. The model improves the employability of young people, giving them a genuine insight into future careers and building the skills we require.
“The partnership provides a unique opportunity for us to shape the curriculum and engage young people in science, technology, engineering and maths. We hope that as a result some will consider a science-based career and may even join RB when they leave school.”
“All the ideas pitched to us showed a genuine understanding of the science behind heartburn, indigestion and Gaviscon. We were delighted to show the students around our R&D and manufacturing facilities in Hull, where we use scientific know-how to deliver consumer solutions.”
Ron Dearing UTC Principal Sarah Pashley said: “The Gaviscon Challenge has been a tremendous learning experience for the students involved and we really appreciate the commitment RB has made to it.
“This project has stimulated the students’ creativity and ingenuity, as well as enabling them to work with a global consumer good business to apply the theory they’ve been learning in science lessons to the development of a household name health brand. Opportunities like this really bring science to life for our young people.
“It has also opened their eyes to the exciting and rewarding careers available on their doorstep with one of the world’s leading companies.”
RB is a Founding Partner of Ron Dearing UTC and RB’s Gaviscon team has been working with students since February in one of the school’s key employer-led projects. The successful teams were selected by a judging panel of RB executives, scientists and researchers.
Student Jordan Aitcheson-Smith, said: “Taking part in the Gaviscon challenge was a really good experience. We learned that it was important to work together as a team to come up with the best ideas.
“The visit to RB has been really interesting. Seeing how Gaviscon products are made and being able to get hands-on and make our own tablets was great.”
Student Charlie Kearton, added: “I really enjoyed the Gaviscon challenge. Although I was nervous to start with, my confidence grew and it was good to get experience in presentation skills.
“The team worked well together and we listened and accepted each other’s ideas to come up with the concept of the Gaviscon jellies.”
As well as RB, Ron Dearing UTC’s Founding Partners are the University of Hull and four of the region’s other leading employers – KCOM, Siemens Gamesa, Smith & Nephew and Spencer Group. The school is also supported by a host of other business partners.
The school opened last September and will grow to a capacity of 600 students, aged 14 to 19, by September 2020. For more information on Ron Dearing UTC and how to apply to join the school go to www.rondearingutc.com/apply