Silver Status Reflects Sustained Commitment
OSL’s relationship with the IChemE has spanned many years. In 2009, the leading institution accredited our Graduate Development Programme, thereby raising its status to an Accredited Company Training Scheme (ACTS). This means that all of our chemical engineers have access to industry resources and expert insight, helping them to improve their skill set and achieve Chartership. In May 2014, OSL attained Bronze Corporate Partnership, a significant status awarded to organisations demonstrating a sustained commitment to process industries.
Under the Corporate Partner programme, OSL follows the IChemE philosophy of “Recognising excellence and securing the future”. To achieve Bronze status, a company must prove that they can deliver the essentials, which include professional commitment to engineering excellence, safety and best practice; expanding horizons as part of an international professional community; and sharing knowledge and experience through a range of events and networking opportunities. Silver status requires the above plus two additional components, presenting a tangible and worthwhile challenge. Our two chosen focus areas were “Inspiring the next generation” and “Championing Chartered Status and CPD”.
Principal Director Alastair Robertson said: “We felt that this combination would allow us to effectively support our engineers whilst working closely with schools, universities and vocational programmes, helping students to follow a variety of career paths.”
To inspire the next generation, OSL developed close ties with Caistor Grammar School in Lincolnshire, providing a recent Graduate Process Engineer to support their annual Challenge in Industry conference. Alastair also regularly attends the school’s annual Careers Evening, offering expert advice on choosing the right course for a career in energy. This relationship has led to us welcoming Year 10 students from the school for work experience, taking the form of both a daily basis over a week and a recurring basis on Wednesday afternoons over the period of a term. During their time at OSL, the students experience a wide cross-section of business activities, including spending time within the Process Engineering team working on live projects.
At degree level, OSL has visited and worked with a selection of universities, especially those in Bradford and Hull.In the past, our offices have played host to a couple of placement students from Bradford University for their year in industry, allowing them to work on multiple projects, experience client and on-site interaction, and better understand the full project lifecycle. On both occasions, we extended their stay beyond the forty weeks to include the summer holidays, providing them with further experience and an increased financial allocation. Our relationship with Hull University is also developing well, with OSL making use of their post-graduate students and facilities to support specialist work that we would otherwise be unable to perform. A recent example is where a PhD student assisted us with Computational Fluid Dynamics models for a research and development project that we are managing with an industrial partner. In return, Resourcing Manager Sarah Taylor is a regular attendee of graduate recruitment fairs at universities with Chemical Engineering degree courses, often complementing these events with valuable workshops, Q&As and drop-in sessions to answer specific questions and offer individual guidance.
Furthermore, OSL continues to provide sponsorship for an Arkwright Scholarship student in collaboration with the local branch of the Energy Institute. The current student is Luke Middleton of Birkdale School in Sheffield, who spends an afternoon each week embedded within our Process Engineering team, learning about the industry with the guidance and support of our recent graduates. This follows the great success of our first Arkwright Scholar, Amy Felgate of Hymers College in Hull, who is now studying an Engineering degree at Cambridge University after spending two years with our specialists.
Operations Manager Neil Barnard said: “Part of our mission is to attract, train and retain the very best engineering talent. Working with schools, universities and the Arkwright Trust allows us to enable and empower the next generation of engineers.”
As a means of championing Chartered status and continuous personal development, we have nine IChemE Associate Members participating in our accredited Graduate Development Programme. Also, following Process Engineer Sermsak Manalertsakul’s recent achievement, we now have six Chartered or Fellow members of the IChemE. Chartered Senior Engineers within OSL are responsible for mentoring the trainees through the scheme in accordance with our Graduate Development Handbook, monitoring the individual’s progress on a month-by-month basis.
Neil said: “As well as providing extensive professional training as part the Chartership scheme, we also encourage our Senior Engineers to continue to grow and increase their involvement in the development of others through seeking to attain Fellowship status. This is mutually beneficial and ensures that OSL remains a hub of expertise, dedication and Clever Thinking.”
OSL was presented with Silver Corporate Partner status during a formal event at OSL House on Friday 15 January 2016. Alastair, who is also a Fellow, received the award from Chief Executive David Brown and Victoria Bachelor, Membership and Market Development Executive. This coincided perfectly with Sermsak’s accomplishment, so the event also included him receiving his Chartership certificate directly from David.
With Gold Corporate Partner status now on the horizon, Alastair summarises the Company’s ongoing mission: "OSL's advancement to Silver Corporate Partner status is an acknowledgement of our efforts in working with local schools and universities to inspire the next generation of young engineers. We also believe that every engineer's competencies and capabilities should develop and improve over time and this is something we embrace within our company. This is a significant achievement for a company of our size but it demonstrates what SMEs can do with determination and passion."
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