Davidson Ching Graduate Process Support Engineer

Name: Davidson Ching      

Job title: Graduate Process Support Engineer

University/college attended: University of Manchester

Degree qualification and year of graduation (e.g. BEng electrical engineering 2009): MEng Chemical Engineering with Industrial Placement 2014


How did you find out about the INEOS grad scheme/your job, and what attracted you to apply?

I found out about INEOS grad scheme through my university’s career fair and I was attracted to the fact INEOS was one of the largest petrochemical businesses in the world but remains little known to the public eye. I was further attracted to how young the company was but the enormous rate of expansion it as gone through in such a short time span. The most attractive aspect to me about INEOS was the work culture and how CEO Jim Ratcliffe strongly advocates taking ownership in the business and challenging the status quo. 

How did you find the application/interview process?

The application and interview process was very straightforward yet challenging and rewarding. We had to submit a cover letter on why you would like to work at INEOS and successful applicants were called up to attend the interview day. My interview day lasted half a day at Grangemouth, where we were taken through a series of hour-long interview sessions (technical, behavioural, management and HR). We were also asked to participate in an individual and a group exercise. We also had the opportunity to interact with current graduates to understand what it was like working in INEOS and what their day-to-day activities were. This was extremely beneficial in allowing me to understand what the graduates were going through and played a significant role in helping me make my decision to take up the role with INEOS.

What does your role involve? What are some typical activities/key responsibilities? 

My role as the Polymer Process Support Engineer in Grangemouth is to provide technical support to the polyethylene (I4) and polypropylene (PP3) plants, by developing and progressing projects that will improve the plants’ efficiency and reliability. Other projects involve improving the plants’ process safety by enhancing the layers of protection and making them inherently safer. I am also responsible for recording and reporting the polymer plants’ monthly CO2 emissions through the flares and the monthly key safety performance indicators. Typical activities involve scoping the project, providing the detailed design and calculations, liaising with the engineers of other backgrounds, sourcing for contractors and manufacturers and eventually implementing and commissioning the projects.

What other roles have you held since joining INEOS?

I have held my current role since starting in September 2014. However, as a young graduate process engineer, I am given the opportunity to interact with senior managers on a frequent basis through working as a secretary in a site wide Process Safety and Integrity Management Forum. The forum allows me to better understand each manager’s roles and responsibilities as well as the key deliverables from each business in terms of safety performance. I am also involved with Incident or Technical Investigations happening throughout the site, which allows me to get a better overview of the current affairs happening at our Grangemouth base.  

What training have you received? 

I have received a variety of technical, management and behavioural training sessions. In addition, I have received significant numbers of health and safety awareness briefings and background training which is extremely applicable to my day-to-day job. The on-job trainings are the most important in my opinion as they allow you to learn as you progress your work. For example, I felt that I benefitted the most learning how to use the in-house process modelling software through the real jobs (modelling and calculations) required as part of my projects. I could also ask questions to senior graduates and engineers who are more familiar with the software than I was.

What do you hope/expect for your next couple of years at INEOS? 

INEOS is moving in an excellent direction, taking full advantage of the cheap US shale gas and leading the front for developing the indigenous UK onshore shale industry. Similarly to the speedy rate at which INEOS has grown since it was founded in 1990s, I am hoping to play a huge part in helping INEOS become a larger and more successful global corporation. I hope to gain technical exposure throughout the site at INEOS by working on the various chemical and refinery assets. I also hope to get some commercial experience by being in a business role to understand the ‘Ps and Ls’ of the balance sheet. Lastly, I aim to move into management if given the opportunity, and achieve chartered chemical engineer status.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

The polymer plants are the last integral ‘pieces’ of the bigger picture ‘puzzle’ of turning raw materials (oil and gas) to final plastic products for everyday users (food packaging, plastic bags and textiles). The part I enjoy most about my job is the satisfaction I get, knowing that the work I do which supports the safe and successful operation of the polymer plants, makes a positive contribution to peoples’ lives.

What are the highlights of your time at INEOS so far?

The highlights of my time at INEOS so far have definitely been seeing two of my major projects develop from a mere statement of an idea that was discussed briefly at a meeting into a full blown project with detailed process engineering consideration being implemented on the plant. 

What challenges have you faced in your role so far, and how have you overcome them? What support has been provided? 

One challenge that I have faced in my role is the timescale to deliver crucial plant modification projects, particularly with regards to turnaround periods as they happen once every four years. This is a huge challenge for a first year graduate as you come into the business, unfamiliar with the modus operandi, and with real projects that have significant business and safety impact on the plants, you are expected to deliver. I overcame this challenge by continuing to persevere despite numerous failures or setbacks, never taking a ‘no’ for an answer. I continue to find ways to deliver promptly, by keeping to individual targets and ensuring that others involved in the projects are fully committed to and accountable for their roles. The support I have received has been overwhelming, from engineers and managers to operators and contractors. Know-how is crucial in delivering engineering projects hence inputs from experienced personnel should not be discounted and is extremely vital to the success of your projects. 

Why do you particularly like about working at INEOS, and would you recommend it to future graduates?

I love working at INEOS because every day is different and new challenges are never too far. You can be out in the polymer plants on platforms 100 feet up in the air walking through a plant modification project with the mechanical engineers or contractors, or you could be at your desk doing chemical engineering calculations and working on modelling software to improve the plant. You could also be interacting with business managers and assets managers talking about the plant’s business and/or safety performances. I strongly recommend working at INEOS as every contribution you make is valued and there are endless numbers of challenges, ready for you to test your limits, push your boundaries and eventually overcome.