Organised through IAESTE - I spent 2 months in Qatar using computer simulation to optimise a gas facility and spend time on site with operations. Living in Qatar was a great experience and this work really helped me get my next job as it was an unusual experience to have during an internship.
Chemical Engineering Intern, BP Chemicals
I spent 3 months in Hull, UK, in the research and technology team. Here I had my own project which involved an economic comparison of different chemical equipment options. This work set me up perfectly for a graduate engineering position.
Process engineer designing and operating oil and gas production facilities. I'm currently working with a mixed engineering team to design a new offshore facility off the coast of West Africa.
My favourite job is my current one. I get to work with people from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and locations while solving problems and delivering energy to the world. I've been lucky enough to travel to Angola, Alaska, Houston, Azerbaijan and now Paris in my 4 years with BP, and travel is a big driver for me.
I am a process engineer with 4 years’ international experience in oil and gas. I love to travel, and I've had the opportunity to do this with engineering.
I studied Chemical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and spent half of my final year doing my Master's thesis in Alicante, Spain. After my second year studying I travelled around Southern Africa with a volunteer group. While at Uni I joined a society called IAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience) which helped me to get an internship in Qatar, after that I joined BP as an intern and then as a graduate process engineer. Since then I've had great opportunities to travel with work (including Angola, Alaska, Houston, Azerbaijan and Paris), and in my time off.
When I'm not travelling or working, I spend my time with friends and family, and forcing myself to go running!
Energy and utilities
Your time at school is short, and it's important to think long-term when choosing subjects. It may be more work for the year to do that maths or science qualification but it's worthwhile working hard for a few months to open all of these doors in your future.
Research into available careers, most of the people I know who work in engineering or did an engineering degree do so because they know someone who is working in a similar area. Engineering is such a broad subject area that is often overlooked.
Don't limit yourself to the careers advice you have in your school/college, speak to people and look externally as well. People are generally happy to talk about their careers and how they got there, so don't be afraid to ask.
Chemical Engineering MEng
University of Strathclyde
Chemistry, English Literature, History, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Music
I liked maths because I had a great teacher for most of my secondary school and she really encouraged me. My physics teacher was constantly changing, which impacted my motivation with the subject, but interestingly it's one the subjects I used the most in the future! Teachers can have such an impact on subject choice, so it's worth looking at what you need to study to pursue the career you might want.
Communication, and specifically presenting information to people with different backgrounds, is critical in my role. I need to be able to present technical information to people who don't know the technical background, and have different knowledge and skills to me. I also have to be able to communicate and work with people from different cultural backgrounds.
With presenting, unfortunately (because I used to hate it) it's all about practice. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and present in front of a group, and ask for feedback. I have been able to do some training courses which give good practical tips on communication, and also learned a lot from watching others. If you pay attention you can see plenty of good examples of what to do when presenting information (and some of what not to do!)
I knew I wanted to do something which involved problem-solving and I was lucky to hear about the Chemical engineering degree through school.
I would have studied advanced higher maths and physics, at the time I was too influenced by the teachers.