Picking up valuable practical experience and applying what they have learned at university in real life situations are the key benefits that students Elise Kupiec and Ewan McLachlan have learned over the past year at ExxonMobil’s Fife Ethylene Plant.
The two 22-year-olds, who are studying for degrees at Nottingham University, are the latest in a long line of students who have undertaken internships at the plant, honing their skills and learning new ones to prepare them for their future careers in engineering.
Elise is doing a Masters degree in Chemical with Environmental Engineering, while Ewan is studying Mechanical Engineering.
Ewan said: “One of the things that attracted me to Exxon is that it is renowned for its global outreach and presence in many countries.
“My parents are Scottish, so coming here to live for the year was great, and I have really enjoyed it.
“I have been working in machinery engineering, undertaking maintenance on big plant equipment, alongside the three permanent engineers and also doing long-term improvement projects to ensure the plant always operates safely and efficiently.
“Working here has been very beneficial to my studies. At uni it is all very academic and looks good on paper but during my year here I have learned how to apply what I have learned in the real world.”
Elise added: “I have been doing two different roles, half my time in contact engineering – being a first
port of call for questions and problem solving and the rest of the time doing optimisation engineering,
which is working on how we can increase production and optimise the running of the plant.
“As well as the practical benefits it has taught me a lot of interpersonal skills such as communication.
“I have been involved with lots of different teams at different levels and different companies which will
definitely benefit me moving forward.
“FEP has been a brilliant place to work. It’s a close-knit family and small enough that you get to know many people. You can see the plant manager or the business manager and they are happy to talk to you.”
The students will now return to university to complete their studies, and both say they would be keen to
return to work in Fife in future.