A placement at TLOR during my studies was a great opportunity
By Charlotte Atkinson, published on December 10th, 2018
I first knew I had a keen interest in the field of chemical engineering when studying A level chemistry, which had a particular focus on fuel development. We looked at the basics of fractional distillation, a key part of all operations at an oil refinery.
I was hooked into wanting to study engineering, with the hopes of working in oil and gas.
LOR gives a great platform to anyone that is new in the industry - you’re able to gain such a wide experience in many different areas. You have an experienced group of people around you to learn from and lots of people that are willing to help out from different engineering or technical backgrounds.
Having been on a male dominated course at university, I knew that most of my colleagues would be male. I think the really positive thing however is that in my department I was treated like any other engineer, and this has helped with my confidence in discussing different technical aspects here.
Having finished my third year here on placement, I returned to university for one more year, which included my final design project. Having seen real life operational situations and design, this really helped me with my design project as I could visualise what the process would really be like.
I was lucky enough to take part in a refinery shutdown, which included seeing many units in pieces, which really helped again with my understanding of the technical side and the logistical side of the design project.
I was given various opportunities during my placement year that was able to give me a chance to develop my engineering skills but also opportunities to develop my transferable skills as well.
The best thing about doing a placement year first is that you are able to work on projects that really make a genuine difference on a real site, rather than just the satisfaction of solving a problem in a lecture.
You can see a project from its inception to its completion and see a tangible benefit, which is credit to all the theory we’re taught in university and the support from everyone else on site to make it happen. I would highly recommend taking on an industrial placement during a degree.
I would urge more women to consider engineering and the oil and gas industry in particular, in the field of chemical engineering. There are more women entering the profession but there is still a lack of exposure.
For me I see it as a great career to always have new challenges and no two days are the same - you can get involved in so many big projects and actually make a difference.
I have had a really good set of people around that have always been there to support me whenever I have questions or problems.
I would say I am proud to work for Total LOR because I know that there really are no stupid questions here and everyone is out to help.
I hope in turn I can help out those where I can whenever I am asked of it. I’m thoroughly enjoying my time so far at Total LOR, I can’t wait to see what happens in the next chapter of the refinery.