Paints industry boosted by dedicated degree

The paints and coatings industry in Europe has been given a boost with the launch of its first dedicated chemical engineering master’s degree programme.

Backed by PPG and the ITECH Engineering School in Lyon, the European Council for Paints, Printing Inks and Artists’ Colours Industry (CEPE) has introduced the ITECH European master’s degree to attract students to the coatings industry.

CEPE says that each year just 100 graduates enter a job market with an estimated 225 positions to fill. It hopes the new programme will begin to reverse that trend.

Olivier Tharreau, PPG director, organisational development, EMEA, and a CEPE member who helped design the master’s degree programme, said, ‘Our industry needs graduates. There is high demand for qualified graduates, but there are few candidates due to the lack of specialised education programs.’

As part of the programme, students complete extensive coursework and three internships at sponsoring organisations. Courses are taught in English to help prepare students for the global coatings marketplace.

Tharreau said, ‘Our industry needs chemists who have a scientific and technical understanding of coatings, and who have the ability to develop strong management skills. This program helps students meet these requirements and provides them with resources they will need to succeed. It also gives us the chance to introduce promising students to PPG and the career opportunities that the global leader in paints and coatings can offer them.

As a program sponsor, PPG provided $34,000 in both 2014 and 2015 through its community engagement grantmaking program to cover tuition for four students and will provide additional tuition support in 2016. PPG also is providing 10-month internships at its facilities throughout Europe for students in the program as part of its sponsorship.

The program’s first cohort of nine students will graduate in May 2017.