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Employer case study: Solenis UK

Solenis is a leading specialty chemical supplier and water treatment company, serving consumer and industrial markets. The fast-growing company employs more than 5,200 staff in 39 manufacturing facilities across the world.

The Solenis manufacturing facility, based in Low Moor, Bradford, is committed to providing work experience opportunities and apprenticeships for young people, and students from the University of Bradford regularly carry out year-long work placements at the site.  

Lucy Parr, Apprenticeships & Graduate Programme Coordinator, spoke to us about their links to the University of Bradford, and how our students add value to the company.

“We’ve taken on work placement students from Bradford for several years”  

“We’ve employed several students from Bradford, who have all completed 12-month work placements in positions including project chemical engineer, process chemical engineer and mechanical engineer.

“The students we take on are usually studying degree-level chemical or mechanical engineering, so they always join us with a sound knowledge of the area they’ll be working in.”

“It’s great to support a local university”

“Our chemical site is situated near to the University, and we are committed to supporting local education establishments, so it’s a great fit and feels right to offer local students work experience opportunities. We also really like the diverse range of candidates the University offers us.”

“Students bring in new skills”

“We have an ageing workforce at our Bradford site and there’s a danger of future skills gaps, so employing students enables us to bring in new skills and future-proof the business. 

“It’s a win/win for Solenis and the University. The students from Bradford bring fresh ideas, as well as knowledge about new technologies and processes, which they pass onto our employees. And our employees pass on their experience of working at a chemical manufacturing site. Overall, this really helps to enhance the skills of our existing workforce and embed new ways of thinking and working.”

Two engineering students working with a University technician in an engineering lab

“Our employees get satisfaction from mentoring students”

“Our employees get great satisfaction from supporting and mentoring students, as they’re all really passionate about helping young people succeed in their chosen career choices.

“Students also bring a fresh energy that really lifts our workforce’s spirits and encourages a hunger to learn new skills.

“The students we’ve taken on from Bradford have all been brilliant at helping with the day-to-day workload, including providing manufacturing support and assisting with the mechanical aspects of keeping a plant running.

“They also help out with the development of new recipes, so they provide all round support, whilst also gaining a rounded knowledge of the industry. This really benefits them and our team.”    

“We pride ourselves on giving students a rich experience”

“We work closely with the university’s placement team to ensure that students get the most out of their time with us, and we have developed a programme that doesn’t just focus on core skills.

"We also offer employability training sessions once a month, covering everything from interview skills to how to be an effective team player. This ensures that when students leave us, they have lots of experience under their belts, as well as lifelong work skills that will benefit them throughout their careers.”