January 13, 2020 by Rhiannon Smith


At the start of a new year, and a new decade, it is a time for reflecting on the past and looking to the future. As we return at the start of 2020, both Becky and I are celebrating having been at wca for 10 years.

In many ways, the time has flown past; we have learned a lot and seen many changes, both for wca as a company and in the regulatory landscape in which we work. Over the years, wca has welcomed in a range of new (and not so new anymore) recruits who have brought with them a wealth of experience in different areas, including analytical chemistry, mammalian toxicology and pesticides risk assessment. We have also said goodbye to some old colleagues who have left to follow new opportunities in the UK and abroad – although a number of them we continue to have the pleasure to work with in one way or another!

As a company, the most significant change over the last 10 years has been the transition to becoming an employee-owned company. As with any big change, there have been some bumps in the road, but these have enabled us to learn and develop our own approach to employee-ownership. We both agree the ‘small company culture’ at wca has been one of the main reasons that the last 10 years have been so enjoyable – with supportive staff, a varied workload and plenty of opportunities to grow and develop – and the move to employee-ownership has increased our sense of involvement in the company.

In the 10 years Becky and I have been at wca, our roles have also changed. We have worked on REACH registrations, covering the 2010, 2013 and 2018 registration deadlines, which have been interesting and at times challenging! We are looking forward to the interesting challenges that registrants will face in future as the regulatory requirements continue to change and develop. Our work with REACH consortia has allowed us to branch out into data and cost sharing, consortium management and work on regulations outside the EU. In future we hope to broaden our regulatory knowledge with the upcoming UK REACH, as well as working on other regulations around the world, as REACH-like legislation continues to be developed elsewhere.

We have also had the chance to work on a range of different projects, from developing substance avoidance lists to assessing the particular requirements of nanomaterials, preparing dossiers for ecolabel certification to developing environmental quality standards for organic and inorganic substances. We look forward to the exciting times ahead as we are involved in new projects on an ever-expanding list of different topics.

Rhiannnon – 10 years ago, I started work at wca, fresh from University. I was warmly welcomed and quickly immersed in the world of chemical risk assessment. It has been an interesting decade, working on a whole range of topics which I never expected and learning lots of new skills along the way. I look forward to finding out what new experiences the next few years will bring.

Becky – When I first started at wca, I had no idea that in 10 years time I would be looking back over such a varied and interesting range of work. I have learned so much during my time here, from both colleagues and clients, and I know there will be a lot more to learn in future!