Becoming a volunteer

We're always happy to add new recruits to our network of volunteers but first, here are a few FAQs:

What is whynotchemeng?

IChemE’s whynotchemeng campaign was launched in 2001 to reverse the decline of applications and intake to chemical engineering degree courses which had been falling rapidly since the mid-1990s. The campaign was built around three core activities: the website, careers literature and volunteer network.

whynotchemeng currently mails to around 4,500 secondary schools in the UK and Ireland promoting our literature, website, online resources and volunteers to teachers and students. 

What does volunteering involve?

Most volunteers choose to be linked with schools near their home or work. Depending on the time you have to commit to whynotchemeng, you can link with as few or as many schools as you like, although most choose two.

Being linked with schools serves two purposes. Firstly, schools like to know that there’s someone in their area that they can call on when needed, and secondly it helps reduce the amount of time spent searching for volunteers in the relevant area. Having said that, linking with schools is not compulsory – I have many volunteers who travel regularly or move around a lot and prefer not to link with specific schools.

Most schools have a careers or science event every year. Events vary from school to school but volunteers are most commonly asked to:

    • man a stand at a careers fair/convention
    • attend Q&A sessions
    • give a presentation
    • assist with 'mock interviews'

Do I have to contact schools myself?

No. All literature and information sent into schools has contact information for IChemE. We act as ‘middle-man’ and will find volunteers to attend events. However, if you choose to link with specific schools feel free to contact them directly to introduce yourself if needed.

Are there any whynotchemeng resources available for volunteers?

In order to support volunteers with their work in schools, we produce a range of careers literature, handouts and freebies to hand out at events, along with posters for display.

All of the above, plus useful information and downloadable resources such as our PowerPoint presentation are available to view and download/order from the volunteer resources page.

What about training?

Unfortunately we’re unable to offer training for volunteers at present, although we do suggest that you register with STEMNET as a STEM Ambassador. STEMNET provide their ambassadors with a free DBS check (formerly CRB), induction and insurance. In exchange, STEMNET ask each Ambassador to attend at least one school event per year, which includes anything you do for whynotchemeng – so no extra work involved for you.

For more information please visit www.stemnet.org.uk/ambassadors

How do I register?

Simply download and complete the registration form, and return to enquiries@icheme.org or whynotchemeng, IChemE, Davis Building, Railway Terrace, Rugby, CV21 3HQ

The work of whynotchemeng volunteers really does make a difference. Intake and applications to chemical, process and energy engineering degree courses has been climbing year-on-year since 2001 - so why not inspire the next generation of chemical engineers?