Focus now on a talent pipeline as LOR is fit for future

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 25 Jul 2017

OVER the past two years Total Lindsey Oil Refinery’s production capacity and organisation has been streamlined to become a smaller but a higher converting and profitable site. 

Having now undergone this restructure to make it fit for a future in the wider Total group, the focus still remains on the talent pipeline. 

While training to ensure those carrying out different daily roles is nearing the end of what has been a strategic transformation, keeping the new skills flowing is at the core of the refinery’s ethos.

Six graduate students are currently on the refinery from various universities around the country, while others return as employees having been part of previous programmes. 

One of those is Ajay Parmar, who is 18 months on from graduating from Loughborough University, having come up to the Humber during his studies.

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The process engineer enjoyed student places in 2012 and 2013, and was delighted to make the grade when it came to a permanent role. 

“The oil industry employs a diverse range of people, and typically the more ambitious and technical skilled people,” he said. “I want to become as technically skilled as I can, so coming to Lindsey Oil Refinery makes sense. It is an international company with good opportunities, where it is very easy to move around.”

Reflecting on his time so far, Ajay said: “It has been brilliant. The culture is really good, the people make this place, they are very, very friendly. When I was a student I was given a huge amount of responsibility and opportunity to do what I wanted and that has continued in my graduate role. There is responsibility and flexibility.” 

He is now focused on the smooth operations and optimisation of a number of process units on the site, and is enjoying seeing new placement students arriving at the site, albeit in greater numbers than when he first came up Eastfield Road. 
Sophie Plater is one of those. She is on a one-year placement from her chemical engineering studies in Nottingham. The 23-year-old is also running the Learning Exchange, held every fortnight. Students as well as employees give presentations on what they do to give a rounded knowledge of the refinery, as the placements are designed to immerse them into a particular area, rather than just skimming the surface. Subjects covered range from refining economics to corrosion awareness. 

Sophie arrived in North Killingholme thanks to the strong links TLOR has with the university. A presentation had been given to the year group highlighting the placement opportunities.

“I knew people from Nottingham who had previously done a placement here and they thoroughly enjoyed it,” Sophie said.

“With the oil industry being something I am very interested in, I applied.

“It has exceeded expectations. I have been given a lot more responsibility and opportunities than I ever thought I would as a student. I had the opportunity to identify a project I wanted to carry out, and I have been allowed to carry it through. I would look to come back, and I will see what opportunities there are. Even if it is not at Lindsey Oil Refinery I would like to stay in the oil industry.”

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Cristina Ayala Rodriguez has the industry in her blood, with parents involved in it back home in Venezuela. 

The Manchester undergraduate has made her 12 months at TLOR her third year at university, continuing her studies alongside the placement. 

“It has been wonderful and surpassed my expectations completely,” the 21-year-old said. 

“We have been given a lot of responsibility and support both technically and on the personal/social side too. I feel that Total really supported me through my studies, giving me all the support I have needed. There is trust too, with work on your project as a person and as an engineer. It has been really good for my personal and technical development.”

She was also a winning member of Lindsey Oil Refinery’s touch rugby team that was victorious in an inter-refinery competition held in Normandy, France.

“I have loved it, added Cristina. “I come from an oil and gas background, both my parents work in the industry in South America, so I have grown up in this. I think it is the most interesting sector technically, and there is a lot of room for optimisation and innovation. Total also has a stake in solar, so it is looking at renewables as well.”

Another successful graduate at the refinery is Michael Dee who works as a process engineer for energy who joined the team with a Masters in Chemical Engineering from Nottingham. He also completed a placement in 2013-2014 and won an award for “the most outstanding design project” at university. 

He is playing an active role in that relationship between Nottingham and TLOR. 

David Large, head of the department for Chemical Engineering at Nottingham University, said: “Since commencing our degree programmes with an industrial year, Total Lindsey Oil Refinery has been a leading partner in the provision of placements for Chemical and Environmental Engineering students at the University of Nottingham. 

“Total provides our placement students with a supportive environment that enables them to realise their potential as professional engineers. 

“During their placement our students typically grow in confidence, earn responsibilities and benefit Total in a substantive manner. The skilled staff at Total are able to see and cultivate the potential in each student.” 

Total works with a number of universities across the UK and worldwide to help develop talent for the industry and their business.

This article was first published in the Innovation at Work publication - Available above as an eBook.

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