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PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF COSMETIC SCIENCE - INTENSIVE RESIDENTIAL COURSE
The Society of Cosmetic Scientists has a proud tradition of providing effective educational events for its members & new entrants to the industry. Over the past 40 years, pride of place has been taken by the week long residential course, which has been held every twenty-four months, normally in Bournemouth on the south coast of England. The course was originally developed by Ken Curry in 1970 and was known as the 'Postgraduate Course' &, thus it remained for many years with Ken at the helm.
A few years ago, the name was changed to the 'Intensive Residential Course': the idea being to make the course seem less elitist & more inclusive. However, as a result of a major review of the course by the Education Committee, a new, more appropriate title for the course was proposed & accepted. From now on, the course will be described as 'Principles & Practice of Cosmetic Science' with the subtitle, 'an interactive residential course'.
Over the years, the format of the course has not changed significantly, with daytime lectures from recognised experts from the Industry, being followed by a highly competitive, computer-based, product development exercise in the evenings. Much of the reputation of the course was associated with the combination of highly experienced lecturers and the product development exercise.
Apart from simulating some of the technical issues faced by Cosmetic Scientists in their day-to-day work, the intensity of the product development exercise has quite often tested the team-working skills & endurance of the participants, with teams working in to the wee small hours to complete the various tasks.
The software associated with the exercise as been developed & improved with the advances of technology. In the early days, stories are told of the course administrators working into the early morning, carrying out endless calculations using pencil, paper & log tables! Remember them? Some stalwarts of the Society have been involved in the development of the software over the years: Phillip Rothwell, John Woodruff & Tony Dweck. We owe these fellows a debt of gratitude for all their hard work.
As part of these exercises, many of the daytime lecturers were persuaded to transform themselves into fictional characters, such as, the unscrupulous Salesman, the ever-demanding Marketing Director or the intransigent Patent Lawyer. The teams had to determine whether these characters were providing them with helpful or unhelpful information. Certain lecturers, who shall remain nameless, seemed to take delight in delivering these performances with a certain theatrical prowess. From time to time unexpected 'opportunities' were thrown into the mix. Price increase here, a new patent there and, of course, plenty of internet scare stories. Howls of genuine indignation could be heard from the various syndicate rooms, whenever these were introduced. Needless to say, the course administrators needed to have thick skins.
Finally, the teams were asked to present their results to the 'Board of Directors'; this was always followed by some tough questioning by the Board & then by the other teams; this was always a truly gruelling process. However, the lessons learned & friendships forged in adversity have been shown to last a lifetime.
It seems that nothing can stand still for long. Financial pressures on the Industry have meant that budgets are tighter than ever. It is increasingly difficult to persuade companies to send their staff on training courses. Indeed, the Intensive Residential Course planned a few years ago had to be cancelled at the last minute through lack of participants. After this abrupt wake-up call, it was recognised that every aspect of the course needed to be challenged. This review has now been undertaken in great detail by the Education Committee. As a result, significant changes have been introduced. It has now been targeted at scientists who have been working in the Industry for a few years and are looking to move in to more managerial or supervisory roles, primarily, but not exclusively, in the scientific functions.
The course will still involve a challenging product development exercise: the latest version having been developed by Tony Dweck. However, the lectures have now been organised to support the exercise more effectively. The lectures on any given day will provide information relevant to the evening's work on the exercise. It is intended that reinforcement of the learning process will be achieved by practical application of the material provided in the lectures. Additionally, some relevant managerial skills will also be provided, such as, team working & project management. The objective is to maximise the learning experience of the participants.
For people who want to take a career in the technical side of the Cosmetics Industry, this course continues to be a must.