What is your position in Arkema?
I have been in the USA on a V.I.E. program for six months. I am working as a unit process engineer in Coatex Inc., an Arkema subsidiary that specializes in making and selling rheological additives.
What has been your career plan?
I have degrees in chemistry and process engineering from the Compiègne University of Technology. Before starting my V.I.E placement in Arkema, I already had two years of R&D experience in quality and industrialization processes.
What exactly does your role consist of?
As well as knowing the processes already in place, I have to analyze the production data to reduce quality shortfalls, optimize the yield, and identify process anomalies to minimize costs (financial, human, and otherwise).
What skills does your job require?
First and foremost, interpersonal skills. Listening and discussion are essential. You also need to analyze and sum up different data to propose solutions!
How did your recruitment process work?
I applied for the job on Arkema's website. One month after submitting my application, I was contacted. I then did three telephone interviews (with HR, the plant director, and the director of operations). Six weeks after that I was taking steps to get my visa!
How did your induction go?
I was very warmly welcomed in the United States. Although intimidated at first, I was very quickly put at ease by some great American experiences like Halloween and Thanksgiving!
What difficulties have you had to overcome?
The first challenge I encountered was the language; you always need some time to get used to the local accent. In my line of work, communication is crucial. Luckily, by watching a few episodes of House of Cards I was able to overcome that difficulty! The second challenge was adapting to the pace of work. I had to watch carefully, pick out the right people to ask the right questions, and come to understand the local culture.
What are the advantages of doing the V.I.E. program in Arkema?
I was given a company car, phone, and computer. I was also compensated for some moving expenses, which comes in handy when you arrive in a foreign country with only a suitcase, a backpack, and your guitar! I also feel like the company really helped me with all the administrative procedures. Plus, in the last six months, I have received a lot of training. That's a great way to very quickly acquire new skills.
What do you like about this placement?
It is an incredible opportunity to open up new avenues and learn! What's more, I regularly talk about different projects with colleagues in Brazil, China, and France.
Is there a particular memory from your V.I.E. program that stands out?
There was a day-event organized by the company to strengthen the ties between colleagues. The relaxed atmosphere at that event let me get to know my future colleagues more quickly. It really helped me get acquainted, integrate, and undertake my work.