Victrex looks for scientists of future

Victrex staff and pupils from Fleetwood High School  at the Catalyst launch
Victrex staff and pupils from Fleetwood High School at the Catalyst launch

A major Fylde-based employer is helping develop the scientists and engineers of tomorrow via a North West educational centre.

High performance plastics group Victrex, which employs more than 400 at its headquarters in Thornton, has just celebrated the opening of the Polymer Zone at the Catalyst Centre in Widnes.

It is an idea inspired by Victrex, which produces the versatile PEEK polymer as part of its 20th anniversary celebrations following the business being spun off from ICI in 1993.

The Polymer Zone is designed to inspire young people to learn about science and technology and features a number of interactive games including Bio-explorer and a Top Trumps game for scientists which examines the properties of different 

Victrex celebrated the opening of the Polymer Zone with pupils from Fleetwood High School, a school that Victrex is working in partnership with as part of its community strategy.

Victrex announced it had “particularly strong” sales volumes and said its growth momentum remains positive as it begins its new financial year.

It said it sold 3,551 tonnes of its products for the year to September 30 – a 22 per cent rise on the previous year.

Its light and strong plastics are used as a replacement for metal in many industries such as aerospace where, for example, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner can use a tonne of PEEK in its construction.

David Yaxley, manufacturing director for Victrex, said: “Victrex is a world leader in high performance polymers, with a global reach serving more than 40 countries and the major markets of automotive, aerospace, energy, electronics and medical.

“We export over 97 per cent of our production and our polymers go into everyday applications in cars, planes, smartphones and in the 
human body.

“As we have grown, we have needed to develop our own global workforce, both in manufacturing, technology, and in other areas.

“We are no longer just a manufacturer, we work with customers to deliver a solution through our research, development and technical skills. It is therefore hugely important for us to develop and retain talented engineers and scientists who will help Victrex continue growing over the years ahead.

“Despite being a global business, our roots remain firmly in Lancashire and it is pleasing to be ‘giving something back’ to the North West and working with Fleetwood High to promote science and engineering as an attractive career.”