Following a placement year at our catalyst manufacturing site in Clitheroe during her university degree, Tess joined our Process Technologies Engineer Graduate Scheme in 2012

Tess Cakebread-Brown, MEng Chemical Engineering
Tess Cakebread-Brown, MEng Chemical Engineering from the University of Manchester, joined Johnson Matthey in September 2012 as a Process Engineer.

I first experienced Johnson Matthey while I was studying at university, during my industrial placement year, which I spent at our catalyst manufacturing site. I got real hands-on experience and was given responsibility from day one. It was then clear to me that I wanted to work for Johnson Matthey on a long-term basis.

I applied for a place on the Process Engineering Development Program (PEDP), which is based within the Process Technologies division. The scheme operates on a rotational basis where candidates are moved through three to four short-term roles within the division. Each of these lasts for six to twelve months, adding up to three years in total. Following this, a long-term role is selected, lasting two years, with the intention of this developing into the individual's chosen permanent role. Being accredited by the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), every candidate should have enough breadth and depth in their engineering experience to apply for Chartership after four years.

"My experience at Johnson Matthey has been invaluable, and is something that I would heavily endorse to others."

Since graduating I have sought out a wide variety of roles within the division;

  • Manufacturing Technical Support (Lancashire): Day-to-day troubleshooting and follow-up work on our nickel catalyst production facilities. I really enjoyed working shifts with the operators and seeing the positive impact of my work on the plants.
  • Post-sales Technical Support (Teesside): Providing remote support for our clients, as well as flying out on a monthly basis to third party sites all over the world to provide onsite aftersales support.
  • Projects and Revamps (Teesside): Completed a wide variety of technical studies for international clients, which directly contribute to building the company's reputation. This role allowed me to develop my plant simulation skills as well as a thorough understanding of the overall syngas flowsheets and associated technologies.
  • Methanol Plant Design Engineer (London): Design engineer for one of the largest methanol plants in the world (if construction goes ahead) using our proprietary Ultra-Low-Emission technology. This pioneering project has recently been globally recognised winning two IChemE awards;
    • Award for Outstanding Achievement in Chemical and Process Engineering 2016
    • Chemical Engineering Industry Project of the Year Award 2016

Four years after graduating I felt that I had acquired enough experience to apply for Chartership and have recently achieved my personal goal of becoming a Chartered Chemical Engineer before the end of 2016. This is proof of the quality of experience young engineers get on the PEDP scheme.

Training as a graduate comes of course in range of forms, but the PEDP scheme really does give you a wide variety of experience and puts you in a good position to decide where to head for your long term career. Not only this, but there is a fantastic support network which underpins it, which is an integral part of working for Johnson Matthey; not only is it a great company, but the people you work with are fantastic too. My experience at Johnson Matthey has been invaluable, and is something that I would heavily endorse to others.