The chemicals sector is the backbone of industry. It’s a high-tech, global, multi billion pound business in which technology gives a competitive advantage and companies strive to improve their cost margins. The sector stretches from oil companies through to manufacturers of ‘commodities’ chemicals (eg. methanol and ammonia), polymers, fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
In industrialised countries you’ll find multinational chemicals companies, oil companies and many smaller, independent companies, particularly in fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals. There are also businesses that support them. Engineering contractors (eg Foster Wheeler and Aker Solutions) design and construct new plants and perform the detailed civil, instrument, electrical and mechanical engineering work that is needed to get the equipment for these in place. Technology development organisations (eg. Davy Process Technology and UOP) develop and licence new process technology to make manufacturing chemicals more competitive.
What it’s like working in chemical engineering
The industry is fast-paced and client-focused, though project timescales vary widely. Problems at operational plants often need to be solved in a matter of hours or days, whereas developing new technology and finding commercial outlets for it can take years. The work is stressful but exciting, often with multiple projects on the go at the same time, and suits those who are creative and like a challenge. You can work anywhere in the world, whether permanently, on a secondment or travelling from place to place, for example in a technical sales role. However, it’s not essential to be mobile: roles such as R&D or working in a production role at a plant generally allow you to stay in one place.
Getting a graduate job in chemical engineering
Employers seek graduates who are highly numerate, outgoing, good at teamwork, proactive and able to adapt to different people, from plant operators to MDs. In large companies you’re likely to join a graduate scheme lasting between three and five years, where you’ll work in different areas of the business.
In today’s world, India has lots of engineering colleges (Govt. plus Private) but the students who pass the engineering successfully, fail to gain job in their respective field.
It is the right time to avail the modern facilities that can enhance the personality of the student. An engineering student lacks in professional training and now companies need an individual who is perfect in all aspects, considering their communication skills and their practical knowledge. The college faculties are not paying attention towards their students, they just bother to earn fees. They are least bothered about students who fail to get placed and some of them choose jobs like call centres or join their family business. The enhancements which college should include are professional training, practical implementation of what is being taught, invitation to hundreds of companies so that students can get hired and many more.
Professional Development for the engineer
Professional development is all about strengthening your career aspect that includes building of a strong network of similar minded individuals. Professional development is needed because it sets you standing apart from the queue of engineers who do not have jobs in their field or fail to get hired from any of the company. Professional development means you are an individual who possess the theoretical knowledge as well as practical knowledge. An engineer is all about practical implementation of the knowledge gained, but if an individual fails to show that knowledge to the interviewer then he misses the job. That is not all, some of the individuals earn the highest package by cracking all the interview and getting the highest salaries in their respective fields.
Why engineers need guidance?
Guidance is an effective way of communication. The guidance can improve an engineer’s capabilities and becomes the best mode to transfer the knowledge from one end to another. An effective communication can help an engineer to keep all the skills updated which is the best way to transfer an amalgam of knowledge, experience and skill. Engineers are quite comfortable to choose their specific area and to attain the deep knowledge in their area is fun for them. The area is something their comfortable zone where they are aware of the basic facts and the syntax used and for deeper knowledge, a guide would be the best. Whenever they feel like switching to the other area, they can but need lots of efforts.
Have you every wanted to apply for a job but changed your mind because it was a contract or temporary position? Think again, because there are a lot of great benefits to temporary and contract employment for both the job seeker and the managing employer.
If you’re thinking about pursuing temporary or contract work: Whether you’re a new graduate or currently experiencing a gap in employment, temporary and contract positions can be a great way to relieve yourself from any restlessness or frustration you may have without a job. These short-term job opportunities can be a great way to kick-off your new career path and provide mental relief to any unemployment-related anxieties or dissatisfaction in your current career. If you’re a recent student or looking to change careers, contract and temporary work can also be a great way to get your foot in the door within your desired field. These positions allow you try out a role before you commit to it on a full-time basis. This is particularly beneficial for younger employees who may not have a permanent career path in mind. Regardless of the amount of time you spend in a position, it is always beneficial to connect with individuals in your desired industry to increase your list of professional contacts you can use as references or simply career advice.
Process Safety management is a subject that we feel is a vital part of the education of chemical engineers.This article will discuss Process Safety Management, why we feel it is essential, the various aspects of hazard identification and prevention and the responsibilities of our profession in this respect. There is a broader pedagogical issue here that we will deal with as well. The field of engineering practice is changing rapidly driven by many factors such as globalization, the breakdown of old hierarchical structures of management as a result of enormous increases in collaboration, and the rapid change is the skills and knowledge required of our graduating engineers. There is an impending crisis in North America where many of the senior managers, scientists and engineers are soon to retire. This will mean the loss of irreplaceable knowledge unless there is some way to effectively pass it on to the next generation of individuals responsible for keeping economy viable.
The modern civilization is totally dependent on the process industries whether they are Oil and Gas,Chemical (which of course includes the bio option),Pharmaceuticals and so on. By the very nature of these industries one often must deal will significant potential hazard such as fire and explosion, toxic release and many other similar situations? The process industries have by and large made a significant effort to mitigate these risks, however they still will exist because of the various materials and processes involved. There are many instances where disasters occurred because of poor design, unsafe operating conditions and errors in judgement
The Flixborough works of Nypro produced caprolactam a monomer for nylon. One of the critical steps was the oxidation of cyclohexane to cyclohexanol in a series of six catalytic reactors in the presence of air. It was discovered that one of the reactors had a small crack resulting in an unplanned shutdown. This reactor was removed from service and a temporary pipe section was fabricated in the machine shop to replace the cracked reactor. Anecdotal evidence states that the pipe was designed with a piece of chalk on the floor of the maintenance shop. This temporary section was not adequately supported and upon pressurization it failed and released a large cloud of cyclohexane vapour. An unknown source of ignition caused this cloud to explode resulting in the death of 28 people and the injury of some 36 others. There was significant damage in the adjacent village.
An insecticide plant in India suffered an accidental release of methyl isocyanate. This plant jointly owned by Union Carbide and local investors was essentially shut down at the time because of a labour dispute. Because the plant had been designed to receive shipments of MIC from another unit where it was produced there was a fairly large storage tank for the material. MIC will react slowly and exothermically with water and the MIC will boil if not adequately cooled. Somehow water was injected into this tank, some believe it was sabotage by a disgruntled operator; however the result was that the tank boiled over. The vapours popped the pressure relief valve and under normal conditions would have been diverted safely into a scrubber and flare system. Unfortunately this equipment was out of service and an estimate of some 25 tons of extremely toxic vapour escaped, killing some 2,000 people living in the shanty village surrounding the plant and injuring some 20,000 others.
Piper Alpha was an oil rig in the North Sea that was producing crude oil. It had been modified to handle natural gas as well. There were two large pumps both with relief valves on their discharge. One of these pumps had been taken off line because of a problem with the relief valve. The valve had been removed and a blind flange (a round sheet of steel) had been used to block off the line from this pump. Normal obligatory maintenance procedure requires that a ticket must be filed with the operating personnel. Unfortunately there was some mix-up and the ticket was never properly processed. Upon start up of the pump with the working relief valve it developed problems and the operating crew being unaware that the relief valve on the other pump had been replaced with a steel blind flange (the ticket had been misplaced or lost), shut down the pump and attempted to start up the other. The net effect of this was that the blind flange was unable to withstand the pressure and blew off the line discharging a cloud of natural gas, which ignited. This could have been dealt with as there was a water spray system that pumped seawater to several spray heads. Unfortunately there had been some maintenance work carried out near the intake to the water pumps and they were not available. Not to belabour the issue there were other unfortunate occurrences related to the fact that Piper Alpha was on a crude oil grid. The fire was soon out of control and so fierce that rescue craft were unable to approach the rig. A few of the men on the rig saved themselves by leaping several stories into the sea which at this point was covered with burning oil. The rest of the men perished in a structure that was supposed to be a safe haven but in fact became an oven. The rig was totally destroyed. One could bring up many other tragic events but the past three should serve to point out several fundamental aspects of Process Safety Management. Safety begins at the design stage, and is an integral part of operations and maintenance procedures. While most of these principles have been recognized far many years in the industry, it is now called Green Engineering.
The primary objective of any process design is to design a unit that is inherently safe. In any chemical process it is vital that one is aware of the properties of all the materials and mixtures thereof that are involved in the system. Although there are many situations where the presence of a toxic material is unavoidable, every effort should be made to find alternate chemistry or alternate processes to minimize any hazard. In both the Flixborough situation as well as Bhopal, should there have been a much smaller inventory of for example the cyclohexane in the Flixborough case and definitely the amount of MIC on hand at Bhopal the extent of damage would have been much less. In the later situation redesign of similar insecticide units basically practice “Just in Time” where the intermediate of a very dangerous material such as MIC is kept as small as practically possible. The process selection is very important as well. High operating temperatures and pressures and corrosive environments increase the risk associated with the unit. The introduction of advanced catalysts often permits operating at reduced pressure and temperature without sacrificing yield and selectivity. Selection of the appropriate materials of construction can be very important as corrosion can lead to catastrophic equipment failure.
Before any process design is approved for construction it should be subjected to a rigorous Process Hazards Analysis (PHA) such as a fault tree analysis or a Hazards and Operability Studies (HAZOP) These are a rigorous review of the process design in order to anticipate wherever possible potential risks and to do whatever is possible to minimize these.
Process Control systems are very important as well since in most units these systems are the main tool for operating the plant in a safe manner. It is not possible to go into much detail at this point but appropriate control strategies are essential to safe operation. The primary philosophy of instrumentation should be that all systems are essentially “fail safe”. One of the most important and often overlooked aspects of Process Design is to have the process operators who will have responsible for operation involved thoroughly and often as the design and PHAs progresses. Safety training for all operating personnel, operators and technical staff is imperative. Most large organizations such as the major Oil and Gas companies as well as the major Chemical companies are quite diligent in this respect. This is not only concern for their personnel but the surrounding community as well and there is always the aspect of potential large financial losses resulting from major incidents. Union Carbide never recovered from the Bhopal incident. A recent disaster at Texas City where a distillation column was somehow allowed to fill with liquid which overflowed , resulting in an explosion and fire with significant loss of life. There were criminal charges brought against those who were believed responsible this and presumably jail time was the result. Maintenance procedures are critical as well; the Flixborough and Piper Alpha incidents are examples of complete breakdown in both cases. It is really quite remarkable that a critical piece of equipment was “designed” by a chalk drawing on the floor of a maintenance shop, and the fact that the maintenance “Ticket” got misplaced on the Piper Alpha resulted in the death of many individuals.
Having briefly reviewed some of the aspects of Process Safety Management, we come to the issue of where this can be dealt with in the Curriculum and for that matter should it even be part of a Chemical Engineering education.
The core body of knowledge expected of today’s engineering graduate seems to continue to expand. In addition to the fundamentals of math, chemistry and physics today’s graduate has to be aware of process simulation and computer mathematical tools. Depending on whatever industry one is familiar with this list can be changed and expanded. In most Universities there is a four year programme. It is an enormous challenge to fit all this material into those four years. There is no question that a five year undergraduate degree would be a desirable option. This is certainly not a new idea however who is to pay for it. Parents and students would not be interested in this with the possible exception of the small numbers who choose to go on into grad school. It is an open question whether potential employers would be interested. We suspect that most really wouldn’t be all that interested. Our TEAM program each year deals with some 20 Industrial Organizations. Almost without exception they tell us that provided a potential employee has a degree from an accredited University they assume that there fundamentals are sound. This does not mean that the student’s marks aren’t important, they certainly are. What seems to be the general response from potential employers is that the fundamentals are only one aspect of what they are looking for. The other aspects are usually categorized by that dreadful term “Soft Skills”, which include teamwork, ability to communicate both by written word and orally, but most important, to be a quick learner who can contribute fully to the enterprise. The other aspect of the Engineering Profession today, that we as educators must recognize, is that change is rapid and all embracing.
Process Safety Management is a vitally important aspect of Chemical Engineering whether involved in design, operation or maintenance. Students have to make them fully aware of the importance of this issue. The practice of engineering is changing very rapidly and we as educators are being challenged to adapt to this. The problems we face in order to effectively deliver a programme of Process Safety Management is the less awareness of the subjects among the students.
Article by: Barrie Jackson Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Queen’s University, Kingston Ontario Canada
As I have been working as a career coach for many years, I’m reminded frequently that regardless of where you are professionally, whether you are a senior executive or a college graduate student seeking your first professional job, there are still five basic points to master as you manage your search strategy.
These following points will serve you well as you recognize the criticality of applying them to your job search:
1. Remember your value
It’s easy to lose track of how good you are when you are unemployed.
Always remember the value that you bring to your next employer. Be encouraged and confident, bringing out your best as you navigate through the search process. This is the time to remember who you are, how you are wired and acknowledge all that you have accomplished professionally and personally!
Transform your branding strategy from a “Job Seeker” to being a “Solution Provider.” Embrace your achievements while remaining confident in your capabilities. Hiring managers generally have very specific challenges in their organization, so it’s important to speak to, and share your achievements as you represent the value of a solution provider as opposed to just another candidate who will try to address their problems.
2. Stay Up-to-Date
Employers are concerned that someone who is unemployed has also become out of date.
It’s your responsibility to keep up with the times and the activity in your market. But you’ll never be able to do this if you’re sitting at home. It’s important to get out of the house, and in front of people by attending networking events, and professional conferences that will help in keeping your skill sharp.
Network at the proper level. I think that job support groups are an amazing outlet to attend, and can help you as you manage your job search activity. But, most attendees are other people who are also unemployed. So, attend networking events and mixers where you can network with the right tier of professionals who can refer you to a person of influence on the inside of your target companies.
Think systematically. Develop a “Job Search Process” so you can track your activity and commitments
3. Be Open Minded
Maintain as much of your “normal” life as you can, but take the time to re-assess your budget and spending habits.
Be open to thinking outside the box, embracing the opportunity to be flexible and adaptable. I had a client who was an Account Manager for a company, in which he was actually a post-sales support professional. His role was to be highly visible at the client sites, serve as a point person for the product that was installed, and know how the client was using the product so he could leverage up-selling opportunities when possible.
In thinking outside the box, this individual was not just an Account Manager. We drilled down into his capabilities and identified other strengths that he possessed to include project management, cross-functional collaboration, client interfacing, and sales administration.
Be realistic about your “Needs.” It’s not reasonable to expect your next employer to compensate you based upon what your needs are. It is reasonable to expect them to be fair in their compensation, based upon what the market is paying for your specific role.
4. Expand Your Network
As professionals, we all generally have three very specific “Networks” that are important to tap as we navigate through a job search.
Proactive Network – These are people in your network who are direct connections, care about your success, and want to step up to assist you in any way possible. It has been noted that many active jobs are never posted online because the company would rather try to leverage internal contacts and referrals instead of hiring someone who may not be proven in their respective role.
Reactive Network – These are recruiters, hiring managers, or people in general who are responsive to your inquiry for employment. You may have talked with them at some point in your search process, and while their current role may not be a good fit for you, you want to make sure to have a trusting relationship with them moving forward, being ever-diligent in remaining on their radar, or top-of-mind as opportunities come across their desk.
Headhunter, Recruiter Network – You want to be sure to get your resume in front of every recruiting company possible, within your specific market segment. You never know when they may search their database for the right candidate, and you want them to find you!
Don’t expect just to be fed by people in your network. Get out and volunteer, maintaining a spirit of feeding others. Be intentional about getting in front of people and know how to tell your employment transition story with confidence.
Know how to ask for a referral. You may ask:
“Do you know anyone who might have a need for someone with my skillset within their company?”
Or, you can ask,
“Do you have anyone in your network who may know of someone, who might have a need for an individual like me in their company?”
In the first question, you are asking your contact person to only consider people that they may have immediate access to. In the second example, you are encouraging that person to think outside their own network, opening them to intentionally considering new opportunities to connect or engage.
5. Remain Encouraged and Hopeful
“Chase the dream, not the competition!” Don’t give negativity the power to hold you hostage. Celebrate your joy or your success, and you will find your next professional opportunity!
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The Texvyn Students will receive training and mentoring at the foundation, core, specialization and super-specialization levels for the appropriate technology track. The program is designed to strengthen your basic industry-required technical skills through hands-on application. We then build your core capabilities through a combination of theory, practice school sessions and on-job training. The program includes industry-relevant certifications for each track.
We use globally-validated tools and content to help you improve your English language and communication skills. These are mapped to the Common European Framework Reference (CEFR). Our approach is designed to help you understand the main ideas of complex text and technical discussions. By enhancing your verbal communication skills, you will learn to express and explain your point of view, and interact fluently and confidently with peers and mentors in real-life, work-related situations.
You will be trained to effectively use production suites like MS Office. You will also develop the necessary skills to gauge and understand behavioral and interpersonal dynamics such as team-building . Texvyn will help you learn to express your ideas persuasively, participate confidently in group discussions and engage professionally with your peers. Additionally, the program will focus on personal grooming, business etiquette and client service orientation.
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