What's your job about?
Process engineers design and continuously improve industrial processes which take one material and make it into something else e.g. milk to cheese, wood to paper, water into hydrogen and oil to petrol. I am a process engineering graduate at Worley, an engineering consultancy which specialises in the resources and energy sectors. I am currently working in the hydrocarbon industry as the process graduate for two of our local clients. I am also seconded four days a week at two of our client offices:
A typical week for me is coming into the Worley office on a Monday and completing any tasks for my client projects, this could be P&ID updates, calculations, building simulations or performing dispersion modelling. Tuesday and Wednesday, I work in the Process Safety team, updating Quantitative Risk Assessments (QRA) or consulting process safety regulations to close out process safety-related actions. On Thursday and Friday, I work on closing out safety review actions with Thursday usually being a full day on-site. In a word, my job is all about variety.
What's your background?
I grew up in Hamilton and attended Rhode Street School, Maeroa intermediate and Hamilton Girls High School. My family was not very well off and I lived in quite a rough neighbourhood. However, I had great parents who always encouraged me to further my education. I attended the University of Auckland for the first two years of my degree but didn’t enjoy the lifestyle in the big city, so I moved back home to Hamilton and completed my degree at the University of Waikato. I got married in my 4th year of Uni and dragged my new husband to Tokoroa for the summer while I worked. This was a really cool experience to work full time at one of New Zealand’s largest industrial sites. In my final year at the University of Waikato, I joined a group of young entrepreneurs called Inn-Digi, who were developing a specialized beehive frame to increase honey yield. I worked with this group for a year which was a lot of fun and I got to see how small businesses are developed. I then joined Worley in 2017 after applying for the graduate program online. In 2018 I became a mother and had 6 months off to look after my son. My husband is now a stay at home dad while I continue to progress my career at Worley.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes. At my company, no two backgrounds are exactly the same. However, to do my job two things are essential: a chemical engineering degree and time management skills. At a consultancy, it is important to be able to work independently and be able to manage your time well.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
When I was in high school I decided I wanted to work in new energy to try to make a difference in the world. Worley is working more and more in the new energy sector, so I am finally living my dream!
What are the limitations of your job?
Most of our learning is done on the job which is beneficial because of its real-life experience but can also be very daunting when you’re fresh out of Uni and don’t know how to do anything.
Pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
1. Learn as much as you can during your summer placement. You are given invaluable access to the inner workings of whatever company you’re at but only a short amount of time so make the most of it! You never know when this knowledge will come in handy.
2. Say yes to every opportunity. I had so much fun and learnt so much from my time as an entrepreneur that I never would’ve learnt if I hadn’t said yes.