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.
Twenty four students from the university’s School of Science, Engineering and Design took part in SABIC’s Engineering Summer School for 2017, 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, also hosted 18 students from schools, colleges and apprentice training centres at a similar summer school for 16-18 year olds interested in taking up engineering roles.
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 Thousands more Teesside jobs are reliant on the business within the wider supply chain, bringing some £400m into the economy from payroll, utilities, goods and services.
The company is careful to nurture its future talent as it looks forward with confidence, buoyed by the conversion of its 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 Workforce Development Manager, who led 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 site’s companies, industries and activities, showcasing how many neighbouring companies depend on each other within the manufacturing chain.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen joined the students on a tour of the Wilton International site on their final day of the Summer School.
Steve Jones, SABIC’s senior manager, workforce development and continuous improvement, presented certificates to mark the students’ Summer School achievements before a closing speech from Teesside University’s Principal Lecturer and Programme Leader for Chemical Engineering, Dr Samantha Gooneratne.
Praising the SABIC Summer School, Samantha said: “The value of this event to individual students is immense, and a tremendous amount of hard work and effort have gone into 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.
“Collaborative events such as this workshop benefit both Teesside University and SABIC, and serve to enhance our already strong relationship.”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen added: “These young people are our region’s future and this is a fantastic initiative by SABIC, one of the key employers in the Tees Valley.
“Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the fascinating tour of the Wilton site and the insight into the manufacturing chain. It re-enforced to me how important it is that we ensure there is a skilled workforce, ready to take up the opportunities our ambitious plans will deliver.”