Pupils from Penrice Academy in St Austell have been learning about careers in the china clay industry.

Around 100 Year 9 students were given a Clay Country bus tour, during which they were told about the area’s mining history, including the old clay tips.

At the Littlejohns kaolin mine which is run by Imerys just outside Roche, the various groups of pupils were met by a mining engineer and geologist for a talk in wild and windy conditions.

The youngsters leant that Littlejohns is the largest kaolin mine in the world, with a perimeter of seven miles.

They were told 300 football pitches would fit into the area of the mine.

Later the students travelled on to the Rocks drying site just outside of Bugle.

Work had shut down for the day and the team at the site had created a mini-exhibition.

Students were given talks focused around sustainability in different areas of the business, and learnt about what career opportunities were available.

The areas covered included the environment, health and safety, science and technology, energy and engineering, and lithium production with Imerys British Lithium, plus mining and processing of kaolin.

Penrice Academy careers lead Mr Hammersley said: “What a fantastic day! The thing that I noticed the most was how awestruck the students were with the scale of operations at Imerys.


“From £20,000 truck tyres to enormous quarry pits which are 400 metres wide and deep, the scale is hard to comprehend.

“It was great to hear about the skills and career journeys of the employees we met, and how their roles have evolved over time.

“There were lots of questions from curious students and lots of smiles throughout the day. All in all, it was a resounding success!

Imerys talent and administration manager Clare Sleeman said: “We were delighted to host this group.

“Supporting local education is crucial for Imerys in the UK, as we work to attract the next generation of Imerys employees.

“We offer an incredible range of career opportunities for people of all ages - from those starting out to anyone looking for a new challenge.”