Elizabeth Lerew

Process Engineering Intern

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Surrey, University of
  • Placement Year (10 Months+)
  • Air Products

How much responsibility were you given during your placement?

I worked independently for most of my year, one particular task was to create a spreadsheet summarising all alarms on a plant with set points and actions for when these alarms went off. This summary gets used by many different teams and is important for many different disciplines and it was my responsibility to complete.

What advice would you give to someone applying for your role?

Make the most of the year by asking for work that wouldn’t usually be part of your day-to-day working routine so that you can be exposed to how different teams work. Take opportunities that arise, as those opportunities might be scarcely available i.e. helping out another team if they have a high workload.

What has been your biggest challenge?

The office building is very large, and working with different teams can be a bit daunting when there are many names to learn and different personalities. My biggest challenge was trying to remember the names of the individuals in each team that I would need to be working with, and remembering different group dynamics so that I may effectively communicate with them.

Where has your experience exceeded your expectations?

I didn’t expect all the teams to be so friendly, many colleagues went above and beyond to help me develop both my technical and soft skills. It is a nice surprise to see such a strong support network at Air Products as I had a buddy within my department as well as a mentor outside of my department.

What did you most enjoy about your role?

I enjoyed the opportunity to visit operational sites to see how everything works on the production side, which was different to my day-to-day as I worked mainly with design teams. This involved several trips to the north east and a trip to Czech Republic.

What was the atmosphere like in your team?

Everyone was incredibly friendly and happy to help. It was a relaxed atmosphere, even though most colleagues were very busy. The teams I worked with were all welcoming and made me feel like part of the team.

What were the activities outside of work?

There are numerous sports clubs that run during and after office hours, I played touch rugby during the summer when the weather was nice outside and I went running with the running club a few times. Outside of sports, there is a graduate council which organises socials on a regular basis which was a great way to meet colleagues that you wouldn’t normally see during the working day.

How promising are the graduate prospects?

I am now a graduate on Air Products’ Engineering Development Programme where I get to rotate jobs annually for the first three years and work with different areas of the business to be able to develop different skills with each assignment.

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