Engineering undergraduates from Teesside University were given a glimpse into their potential future with one of the world’s leading petrochemical businesses during a three-day workshop at SABIC.
Fourteen students from the university’s School of Science and Engineering took part in SABIC’s first Engineering Summer School, featuring a range of practical and theoretical exercises that aimed to boost their confidence and employability for their future careers within the industry.
SABIC, whose UK headquarters are based at Wilton, near Redcar, host 40 apprentices and a number of industry placement students alongside a strong graduate development programme.
Recently named UK Company of the Year by the Chemical Industries Association, SABIC employs 600 staff and an additional 400 contractors at its Wilton and North Tees sites, whilst thousands more Teesside jobs are reliant on the business within the wider supply chain, bringing some £400 million into the economy from payroll, utilities, goods and services.
However, the company is careful to nurture its future leaders as it looks forward with confidence, buoyed by the ongoing conversion of its iconic Olefins 6 Cracker to take ethane, a move that will safeguard thousands of Teesside jobs whilst securing the company’s long-term future in the region.
Kevin Thrower, SABIC’s Learning and Development Manager, who organised and delivered the Summer School, said: “It is part of our Corporate and Social Responsibility plan to promote opportunities for young people within SABIC, especially as some of these students will form part of SABIC’s talent supply chain in the near future.
“It’s important that young students who could add value to the UK process industry have a real understanding of how their individual traits and abilities to work in teams to solve everyday problems are equally as important as their technical capability.
“The enthusiasm, willingness to learn, openness to new ideas and techniques was eye-opening. Young people have a lot to offer, and it is our job in industry to give them an opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities. The eagerness shown was credit to themselves, their departments within Teesside University and to Teesside itself.”
During the course, the undergraduates heard first hand from SABIC employees about careers in mechanical and technical engineering, whilst interacting with SABIC’s leadership team.
Major industrial energy and utilities provider Sembcorp also provided a coach tour of the Wilton International Site – home to SABIC’s Olefins 6 and LDPE plants – to give the students an insight into the companies, industries and activities taking place on the site, showcasing how companies depend on each other within the manufacturing chain.
Jon Hetherington, SABIC’s Maintenance Senior Manager, presented certificates to mark the students’ Summer School achievements before a closing speech from Teesside University’s Biomechanics and Manufacturing Senior Lecturer, Professor Farhad Nadhani.
Praising the SABIC Summer School, Professor Nadhani said: “The value of this event to individual students is immense, and a tremendous amount of hard work and effort were spent on these three days.
“On behalf the students who have attended and myself, I would like to express our gratitude to SABIC, especially those staff members who have given their time so freely for the benefit of our undergraduates.
“The relationship that Teesside University and SABIC enjoys helps us both to grow and benefit from this collaboration.”
Tori Roberts, a second year Chemical Engineering student, added: “The set-up, from start to finish, was professional and fun, and I know my fellow students have taken away a lot of knowledge and confidence from the whole experience. Being able to see what is taught in the classroom has put everything into perspective for us, as well as being a fascinating and positive insight into what the industry has in store for the future.”
• Pictured (above) are students Archie Nhlangano, Tori Roberts, Shubham Sharma, Beth Stoves, Ariane Lim and Kristi Potter in front of SABIC’s Olefins 6 Cracker at Wilton.