Stu­dents get in­dus­try ready with prob­lem-solv­ing chal­lenge

Pilbara News - - Business - Court­ney Fowler

■ Yara Pil­bara has de­vel­oped a part­ner­ship with a group of West Aus­tralian univer­sity stu­dents to help get them “match ready” for a role in the chem­i­cal and process en­gi­neer­ing sec­tor.

Yara Pil­bara, which op­er­ates one of the world’s largest am­mo­nia plants near Kar­ratha and is cur­rently com­mis­sion­ing a new tech­ni­cal am­mo­nium ni­trate plant, has de­vel­oped a team tech­ni­cal chal­lenge now un­der way in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Univer­sity of Western Aus­tralia’s Chem­i­cal and Process En­gi­neer­ing Club.

Un­der the pro­gram, penul­ti­mate or fi­nal year en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in a team as­sess­ment process which tests their in­dus­try aware­ness, anal­y­sis, pre­sen­ta­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and team­work skills — topped off with a mod­ern tech­ni­cal chal­lenge aligned to Yara’s ex­per­tise and oper­a­tions.

Yara Pil­bara plant man­ager Rob Stevens said WA had a range of ex­ist­ing and emerg­ing in­dus­tries re­quir­ing the skills of chem­i­cal and process engi­neers, but more needed to be done to at­tract young peo­ple into the rel­e­vant study stream.

He said univer­si­ties also needed to en­sure cour­ses were rel­e­vant and cur­rent for the com­pa­nies look­ing to em­ploy them af­ter grad­u­a­tion.

“The chal­lenge is an in­no­va­tive way to ex­pose chem­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing grad­u­ates — and those also study­ing dis­ci­plines such as me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing — to the practicalities of in­dus­try and test their prob­lem solv­ing skills,” he said.

“I have been re­ally en­cour­aged by the en­thu­si­asm and so­lu­tion-fo­cussed at­ti­tude of the par­tic­i­pants, com­bined with their com­mit­ment to work as a team.”

The Yara Pil­bara Tech­ni­cal Chal­lenge be­gan this month and teams will be re­quired to com­plete pre­sen­ta­tions and panel in­ter­views as part of the judg­ing process.

The win­ning team will re­ceive a cash prize of $1500 and will be flown to Kar­ratha for a tour of Yara Pil­bara’s oper­a­tions and to present their win­ning en­try to Yara man­age­ment.

The com­pany is also de­vel­op­ing a strong re­la­tion­ship with UWA, hav­ing worked with the univer­sity to de­velop a Mas­sive Online Open Course fo­cussed on the Eco­nom­ics of Agri­cul­ture. The first agri­cul­tural MOOC was launched in Fe­bru­ary of this year and at­tracted more than 3000 par­tic­i­pants in 55 coun­tries.

Pic­ture: Yara Pil­bara.

Yara Pil­bara plant man­ager Rob Steven with chal­lenge en­trants Ursula Madi­gan, Jonothan Hol­lan­der and Daniel Bourke.

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