University collaboration brings mutual benefits

Experienced engineers from ExxonMobil Fawley petrochemical complex are working with the next generation of engineers from the University of Southampton in a collaboration that links academia and industry.

Image Amanda Bones, Principal Engineer at ExxonMobil
Fawley with MSc student Rakshitha Srinivasan

Amanda Bones, Principal Engineer at ExxonMobil Fawley with MSc student Rakshitha Srinivasan

The mutually beneficial partnership started with the previous Fawley Plant Manager working alongside the university to formulate course content in preparation for the introduction of the Chemical Engineering degree courses.

And it has led to qualified engineers mentoring students on the recently introduced courses, giving them an insight into how their academic knowledge can be applied to real-world engineering.

The links have seen the students working with the site’s engineers to offer fresh solutions to everyday challenges in the workplace, as well as giving the students an insight into what they can expect from a career in engineering.

Tracy Loughran, a senior principal engineer for ExxonMobil Fawley, has been working alongside lecturers at the university to help come up with ideas for its Masters design project.

From there it has grown, with more Fawley engineers helping in mentoring roles.

“I just wanted to help to give something back to the community where I have lived and worked for the last 30 years, and this was an ideal chance for us to work with the university as it developed its course content,” explained Tracy.

“I hope that more of our engineers will get on board with the various projects as it is a good chance for them to enhance their skills and work with the students to our mutual benefit.”

The partnership currently involves eight engineers, working in a variety of areas at the Fawley site, assisting and mentoring around 15 students on the engineering courses.

Amanda Bones, Principal Engineer at ExxonMobil Fawley is mentoring MSc student Rakshitha Srinivasan.

Amanda said: “It has been a great pleasure to work with Rakshitha who is part of the next generation of Chemical Engineers.

“I hope we can continue to develop closer links with this renowned academic institute and its talented students.”

Rakshitha added: “This link has provided me with a platform to not only implement the skills I acquired during my MSc but also to confront real-world scenarios, putting my knowledge to the test.

“Amanda has played an instrumental role as my supervisor and mentor, consistently offering invaluable guidance and leadership.

“This experience is undeniably a stepping stone towards shaping my career path and I am grateful for the opportunity.”