Brussels/Helsinki 21 June 2011: European Commission Vice President Antonio Tajani proposed a new graduate scheme in the field of chemical policies in Helsinki today. Via this initiative, young university graduates or students coming towards the end of their studies will be able to get an inside view into the work of the ECHA, the European Chemicals Agency, which is managing the practical aspects of the European Commission’s REACH Regulation.
Vice President Tajani, responsible for enterprise and industrial policy, said: “The skills and expertise of young university graduates will help to achieve the objectives of the REACH Regulation for safer chemicals throughout Europe. We want to develop a win - win situation whereby students can gain high level practical experience while making it easier for ECHA when it comes to recruiting qualified and motivated staff members."
Geert Dancet, Executive Director of ECHA said “In the context of the International Year of Chemistry, I welcome not only Vice President Tajani’s continued interest and support for our work, but also this innovative initiative which will foster the careers of promising regulatory scientists in Europe”.
For the new scheme, ECHA will create a network of universities which provide graduate courses with qualifications in the relevant disciplines, as well as using its links with professional organisations that conduct continuous training and education programmes, that could also form part of the initiative. ECHA will manage this initiative by providing knowledge and expertise in recruiting highly-qualified staff from across Europe. This scheme would enlarge ECHA’s choice of possible future staff members.
Full details of the graduate programme should be available by the end of 2011. Currently it is being developed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in co-operation with the European Commission. Enabling and encouraging young professionals to learn from ECHA through such a programme before joining the job market provides invaluable experience for both sides.
ECHA Graduate initiative scheme
ECHA is a highly specialised agency and recruits expert scientists to work in the fields of chemistry, toxicology, ecotoxicology and the risk assessment of chemicals. It has developed an understanding of how the specialist education and training programmes already available in fields are relevant to the work of experts across Europe.
Network of universities: ECHA will contact universities in order to exchange information both on the qualifications and disciplines available to them, as well as providing further information on the work experience opportunities available at the agency.
The graduate courses: Areas of study could include those mentioned above as well as the practice of human health and environmental risk and exposure assessment of chemical substances. Academic institutions could enhance the employability and future prospects of their graduates by developing earmarked post-graduate programmes or special courses in areas directly relevant to the EU chemicals legislation.
Traineeships: While direct recruitment is clearly a major component of the scheme, the link with traineeships would give some graduates the first hand experience of working in this type of environment, and which could lead them to decide to pursue further opportunities.
Recruitment opportunities: ECHA, like many professional organisations, needs to recruit personnel with the right qualifications and in the relevant disciplines, in order to achieve its objectives.
Improved job prospects: The scheme will open opportunities for them not only in ECHA and Member States' authorities; but also in industry where compliance with the REACH and CLP Regulations (Classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures) has a high priority; in consultancies; and in academia.
The new scheme is in line with the European Commission’s policy initiatives to promote new skills for new jobs by anticipating and matching labour market and skills needs.
Carlo Corazza (+32 2 295 17 52)
Andrea Maresi (+32 2 299 04 03)