Gold award for petrochemical firm ExxonMobil

The company was presented with the award at its Refining and Chemicals site in Fawley, Hampshire on 21 November 2017.

ExxonMobil employs 3,000 people in the UK alone, and is one of the largest employers of chemical engineers. It has made a major contribution to the engineering skills gap, through encouraging school children into chemical engineering, supporting young engineers studying the discipline at university, and providing ongoing professional development to all of its chemical engineers.

Chemical engineers at the Fawley and Fife sites are professionally developed through the company’s training scheme, which has been accredited by IChemE for more than 25 years.

The scheme provides technical and manufacturing management training to its staff aimed at helping them to become world-class leaders in the industry, and all participants are encouraged to pursue Chartered Chemical Engineer status. Close to 100 of Exxon’s chemical engineers at Fawley and Fife are already Chartered, with 50 graduates at these sites actively pursuing Chartered status, supported by 35 mentors.

ExxonMobil has established strong links with 12 chemical engineering departments at UK universities, to recruit graduates. It typically offers 26 industrial placements in the field each year, and runs an eight-week summer programme at Fawley and Fife. The annual initiative provides those 28 students with a valuable opportunity to make a positive contribution to a real business project, focusing on process safety.

The award of the IChemE Gold Corporate Partner status also reflects the company’s strong commitment to the next generation of chemical engineers. Each year ExxonMobil participates in a number of science, maths, engineering and technology (STEM) engagement activities with young people from secondary school age right through to university.

Through a “Links Schools Programme” it provides £3,000 funding to 23 schools to offer STEM support, and facilitates school tours of the ExxonMobil sites on an annual basis.

This year it successfully piloted a Year 6 Girls STEM event - a STEM event for female students aged 10-11 (Year 6) at the Fawley site, aimed at encouraging girls into engineering.

It also runs a Women in ExxonMobil day each year, inviting 80 female engineering university students to meet female engineers at the company and to gain an understanding of what careers are available.

Jon Prichard, Chief Executive, IChemE and Jonathan Seville, Immediate Past President, IChemE attended an award presentation with Richard Henderson, Chemical Plant Manager, Fawley Refinery, and Simon Downing, Refinery Manager, Fawley Refinery, at ExxonMobil's Refining and Chemicals site in Fawley on 21 November.

Jonathan Seville, Immediate Past President, IChemE, presented the award. He said:

“ExxonMobil is dedicated to developing the competence of all its chemical engineers and encourages them to aim for the highest professional standards. It’s fantastic to see that they fully support chemical engineers on their journey towards chartered status.

“It is great to see the breadth of activities that the company undertakes to support not only their chemical engineers and graduates, but also in inspiring a whole new generation from primary school age and upwards. Chemical engineering really does matter and ExxonMobil’s commitment is clearly demonstrated in its schools’ outreach and professional development work, which is embedded within the organisation. I’m delighted to be able to confirm ExxonMobil as a Gold Corporate Partner.”

Simon Downing, Fawley Refinery Manager, ExxonMobil said:

“The award of IChemE Gold Partner status is external acknowledgement of the excellent technical training and mentoring programme we provide to young engineers. It also demonstrates our commitment to ensuring we support Chemical Engineers to achieve their Chartered and Fellow status.”