Case study

Process engineer — Brad Healey

Having only recently graduated with a degree in chemical engineering, Brad is already managing a small team and leading on a key project. Find out how he has been able to achieve career success

What degree did you study?

I studied for an MEng Chemical Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University. I graduated in 2020.

How did you get your job?

I completed a ten-week summer internship with Oil & Gas Corrosion Ltd, an energy consultancy company, in 2019 that I had found on the university careers website. I applied with my CV and cover letter and had a short interview. The company extended my internship until the end of summer, and then I worked part time through my final year. During this time, I completed an industry-backed dissertation (Techno-Economic Analysis of Selected H2S Disposal Methods) for a national oil company.

Once I had completed my final year of university, I became the company's first permanent graduate, joining as a process engineer.

What's a typical working day like?

We have a wealth of clients and several different projects, each unique. We work in the oil and gas sector, and more recently within renewables such as offshore wind, hydrogen transport, geothermal and carbon capture and storage, which are all very different.

Typically, my duties include producing technical reports for clients, performing calculations, communicating with clients and, more recently, managing a small team, as well as leading a large project on H2S management, following on from my dissertation work.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy being a part of a small team, learning every day and applying my skills to problems. For me, the challenging nature of the role is something I enjoy and was one of the reasons I chose to study chemical engineering.

I have also been able to achieve so much in my early career, having presented at a National Association of Corrosion Engineers conference, managing a small team, and taking the lead on my own project.

What are the challenges?

The main challenges for me, early on, were transitioning from university to industry. This could be from something simple such as getting used to the jargon and terminology, to something more complex like a thorough understanding of a typical oil and gas asset.

How relevant is your degree?

My degree is essential to my work and provides the foundation knowledge for everything that I do, whether it be producing technical reports, reviewing information or producing calculations.

University problems often differ from the ones I see industrially, with university problems often being closed, with an actual answer always to be found. In industry, the problems I face are very open, but my degree knowledge means I am able to approach these problems to find relevant solutions.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I hope to become professionally chartered, be in a position to source my own clients for the company and to be seen as an expert/have technical authority in H2S management, having successfully furthered my dissertation work.

What advice can you give to others?

  • There is no right or wrong way to get to where you want to be.
  • There is no substitute for hard work, no matter your ability.
  • Take advantage of the opportunities available to you, and seek your own. Industry is different from university and I would encourage everyone to seek real life experience within industry.

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