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Pierre-Emmanuel, former intern

What has been your career path?

I studied at the ENSCR school of chemistry in Rennes, then at the ParisTech Chemistry school. I did an end-of-course internship in Arkema at the Carling plant, then an apprenticeship contract through the IFP School in the English-language program "Processes and Polymers", in partnership with Arkema, again at the Carling plant.

What is your current role in Arkema?

I am a process engineer and have been working on production processes for light acrylates in the Acrylics business unit since January 2014.

What exactly does your role consist of?

During my initial two-month period in the company, I made a summary of the production units' safety studies at the Carling plant and did some work simulating processes. During the second six-month period, I worked on different subjects relating to one of the production units that I now look after (setting up unit monitoring files, process simulations, industrial testing, etc.).

How did your induction go?

In the process department, my induction went quite smoothly because I already knew all of my colleagues from my initial internship.

What difficulties have you had to overcome?

The main challenge is managing to assert yourself with a base of knowledge that is still limited compared with colleagues who have been working at the same plant for years. When you graduate, you are labeled "process engineer", but each production plant and each process has its own specific characteristics that they do not teach in engineering school.

Why do an apprenticeship in Arkema?

My 16-month apprenticeship was probably the best time in my life as a student. The working conditions were ideal, the assignments were rewarding, and my pay was very reasonable.

What about career opportunities afterwards?

I think that doing an apprenticeship gives you an undeniable advantage compared with external candidates, as long as you used that time to build up your knowledge and experience, and proved to your managers that they could count on their apprentice.

What did you like the most?

The almost total immersion in my future profession, with assignments similar to those of my engineer colleagues. I was lucky enough to be entrusted with such an assignment and to have the chance to prove that I could integrate into the company in the long term. I like working for a company that rewards new ideas and innovations proposed by its employees, regardless of their career background or experience.

Is there a particular memory from your apprenticeship that stands out?

The commissioning of the first piece of equipment that I designed is a special memory for me. I think about it every time I walk past it!

One of your qualities and one flaw?

I am very thorough, but I sometimes have the impression that can make me less efficient.

Is there something about yourself that you would like to share?

Four days out of five, I take my sports bag to work to go and train with my athletics group at the end of the day. That's when I start what I call my "second life", an activity in which I seek to improve my performance, just like in all my professional assignments.

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