100 pupils at Tillicoultry Primary School took part in a Harry Potter themed potions and spells masterclass on Thursday (30 May), to encourage them to consider a career in STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics).


Twelve sensory science sessions, led by local Diageo employees, showcased the skillset involved in mixing potions with magical effect to children aged nine to 12, as part of a community outreach day coordinated by the team at Menstrie.


All 40 employees at Diageo’s Menstrie Brand Technical Centre have worked together to organise a calendar of events aimed at improving the skillset and materials available to the local community.


Alan Kennedy, Science and Technology Director of the Diageo International Supply Centre, said: “The STEM industry is one of the most impactful and exciting in Scotland today, encompassing a whole series of skills which helps shape our daily lives.


“As professionals, teachers and parents ourselves, we have a duty to encourage and inspire young people to pursue STEM subjects and careers. It’s important we present STEM as an attractive, accessible option for the next generation by providing real opportunities and experiences that put STEM into context from a young age.”


Teaming up with Morrison Construction for part of their outreach programme - the lead contractor behind the new £6.4 million Diageo Menstrie Centre of Excellence development – the group started work to upgrade the Primary School’s play facilities.


Tillicoultry Primary School headteacher Linda Coutts, said: “I would like to thank Diageo and Morrison Construction for the work they have done at Tillicoultry Primary School. Thanks to them, the children will now have more opportunities for active engagement in the playground. They have done a great job.


“I’d also like to thank the staff from Diageo for delivering science lessons in the upper school and promoting STEM as a career path for our young people. The sessions support the development of skills for learning, life and work, and we hope this positive partnership will continue to grow as we move forward.”


The school’s surroundings will be transformed to include a climbing area, football pitch and sand pit with a series of sustainably sourced enhancements. Work to implement these features began on Thursday with the introduction of a climbing wall made from upcycled wooden pallets and old car tyres.


Morrison Construction Community Skills Manager, Caitlin Quinn, added: “It’s been great working with Diageo on this project and I’m thrilled to see the playground come to life. It’s a fantastic facility for all age groups and will improve health, fitness and wellbeing.


“Morrison Construction places great importance in giving back to local communities. We are pleased that we could do this in Tillicoultry and we are grateful to our staff and trusted supply chain, Johnstone’s Trade Paints, Realm Construction and Veitchi Interiors, who have all taken part and have been fantastic in their support, both in volunteering their time and providing resources.


“I am sure pupils will enjoy these play facilities for many years to come.”


Diageo submitted plans for a new centre of excellence at its existing site in Menstrie, Clackmannanshire in May last year to meet the ongoing global demand for innovation in Scotch whisky. Work to upgrade the facilities for Diageo’s Whisky Blending, Science & Technology and Materials Testing teams is well underway, with the Spirit Supply and Scotch Whisky Specialist teams expected to come together when the site opens this October.


Alan Kennedy added: “This ongoing investment in our facilities and in the local economy in Clackmannanshire is essential as we pursue our ambition to be one of the best performing and most trusted consumer product companies and employers globally.”