The University of Surrey recently welcomed keynote speaker Ms April Feick (Site Manager for ExxonMobil Chemical Limited’s Fawley production site) to campus, who delivered an inspirational message to those studying the subject.
“Engineering gives you a foundational knowledge that can be used in so many ways,” she told the audience. “The subject teaches you how to think through and solve problems. There’s such a demand for engineers – typically we find we’re undersupplied by good engineers, as opposed to other industries that can get oversaturated and oversupplied. I think sometimes engineering can be misconstrued as ‘not fun’ – but I can tell you I think it’s exactly the opposite.
“Engineering can enable you to specialise in a niche area, or take up something more abstract and less defined – it’s really up to you. Chemical engineering can mean creating the elastic fibres on a cereal packet to distilling tons and tons of oil – it’s so varied! From my own experience, I’ve been able to work in downstream optimisation, learnt how the process of distillation works, project managed portfolios, as well as working in sales management, marketing and technology development.
“Chemical engineering opened up a whole load of possibilities for me that I probably didn’t appreciate when I first chose it. And it’s paid off for me much more than I could have ever expected. I believe that anybody can make their own future in the chemical engineering industry if they’re smart and determined. The market’s tough – so you have to think on your feet – but with challenge comes plenty of opportunity.”
The Chemical Engineering Industry Day enabled around 200 Year 2, 3 and 4 undergraduate students to network with representatives from various multinational and local chemical engineering companies, learn more about the industry as well as discover potential Professional Training year placements and graduate jobs. Returning students were also given the chance to display and present their placement posters.
Those participating in the Chemical Engineering Industry Day included Air Products, BNV GL, BOC, Chromalox, Eni, ExxonMobil, Fluor, Genesis, Grace Catalyst Technologies, Jacobs, Modern Water, Technip, Thames Water, UOP and Weydon School.
Remaining talks were delivered by Professor Jonathan Seville (Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences), Dr Philip Holmes (Senior Tutor in Chemical Engineering), Professor Rex Thorpe (Head of the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering) and Mr John Watkins (Director of Careers Service).
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