An Interview with... Chartered Process Engineer Sam Manalertsakul
Following his graduation in 2011, Sermsak (Sam) Manalertsakul relocated from Manchester to Hull to join our team as a Associate Process Engineer. A Committee Member of the IChemE Hull and Humber branch, Sam is dedicated to expanding his skill set and developing a career in energy. He has put great effort into seeking Chartership through the IChemE as part of our Continuous Development Programme (GDP), and we are delighted to announce that his diligence has now paid off. This notable success coincided with an event that celebrated OSL receiving Silver Corporate Partner status through the IChemE, presented by Chief Executive David Brown.
In this interview, Sam tells us more about his role at OSL and how our Graduate Development Programme helped him to achieve a major goal.
How long have you been working toward becoming Chartered?
I began straight after finishing my first master’s degree. I had worked in Thailand as a process engineer for five years, and it is not common in Thailand for chemical engineers to achieve IChemE Chartership status. When I joined OSL, my previous experience was reviewed in order to identify the gaps for my application, and I have worked for four years to accomplish my goal.
What did you have to do to become Chartered?
The most important step was to submit my application along with my Competence and Commitment report to the IChemE. In line with OSL's GDP, I had periodic meetings with my mentor to review the completion of the defined targets from the last meeting, then set my targets and deadlines for the next one. This way, I knew exactly what I had to do to fulfil my application. The next challenge was to get ready for my Peer Review Interview. During my preparation, I practiced mock interviews with my work colleagues and mentor to make myself ready for all possible questions. At the same time, I reviewed all of my past experience on my CV and prepared my answers using typical interviewing techniques such as STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result). To be honest, my secret was just being myself and demonstrating enthusiasm throughout.
How has the IChemE helped you to achieve this?
The IChemE Hull and Humber Members Group organises a Get Chartered event once or twice a year. I have attended the event a number of times, which offered access to valuable guides and helped me to build the confidence required to start my application.
What kind of support has OSL provided?
First of all, OSL assigned me a mentor as soon as I joined the company. Senior Technical Forum meetings between all mentors are organised periodically, and as part of this they review the gaps of all applicants to highlight on-the-job training opportunities. I also have an annual appraisal review with my line manager and Lead Process Engineer; this defines training required to gain in-depth knowledge in a particular subject. Both technical knowledge and soft skills were crucial for my application; taking part in training courses arranged by the IChemE and other providers enabled me to strengthen my communication and networking abilities, especially through sharing time with engineers from other industrial backgrounds.
How does being Chartered help OSL?
It demonstrates that the company has the capability to nurture young talented engineers to become IChemE Chartered members through its GDP. OSL does not promote from Engineer to Senior Engineer status until they have become Chartered. Meanwhile, clients benefit from a team of highly competent and experienced engineers working on their projects from beginning to end.
How did you feel upon officially receiving your status?
I was over the moon when presented with my certificate by IChemE CEO David Brown. It was also fantastic to celebrate this success with my managers and work colleagues as part of a formal event at OSL House.
What is your next big career goal?
I became a Senior Process Engineer as soon as I received my Chartership status. Returning the favour to OSL, I would like to have my own mentee and help the company to grow its number of IChemE Chartered engineers. The entire process has inspired to me to reintroduce skills and knowledge that I have gained over nine years back into the industry, supporting the chemical engineer community. Due to a small number of Thai engineers in the international market, I could also be an example that my home country is capable of producing qualified chemical engineers that fulfil the world’s energy demands.
Sam’s achievement means that OSL now has six Chartered or Fellow members of the IChemE. As well as representing our commitment to attract, train and retain the very best in engineering talent, Chartered Senior Engineers within OSL are responsible for mentoring trainees through the GDP in accordance with our Graduate Development Handbook, monitoring individual progress on a month-by-month basis.
Pictured L-R: Director Alastair Robertson, Senior Process Engineer Sam Manalertsakul, IChemE CEO David Brown