PPG has worked closely with the European Council for Paints, Printing Inks and Artists’ Colours Industry (CEPE) to help develop the ITECH European master’s degree. The program is designed to attract students to the coatings industry. As part of the program, students complete extensive coursework and three internships at sponsoring organizations. Courses are taught in English to help prepare students for the global coatings marketplace. The program’s first cohort of nine students will graduate in May 2017.
According to CEPE officials, each year approximately 100 trained graduates enter a job market with an estimated 225 positions to fill. “Our industry needs graduates,” said Olivier Tharreau, PPG director, organizational development, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and a CEPE member who helped design the master’s degree program. “There is high demand for qualified graduates, but there are few candidates due to the lack of specialized education programs.”
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.
“Our industry needs chemists who have a scientific and technical understanding of coatings, and who have the ability to develop strong management skills,” Tharreau said. “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.”