23/07/2020 - Careers[Women in [email protected]]
How did your career path lead you to Vallourec?I graduated from university with a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry and started my career as a high school chemistry teacher. After only a few months, I realized I just wasn’t passionate about teaching schoolchildren. So I returned to university to obtain my Master’s degree in materials engineering. Upon graduation, I joined Vallourec.
You’re a process engineer. What does a typical day look like for you?I work at the Tianda plant in Chuzhou, China. Like all Vallourec plants, we have several furnaces in operation. My job is to make sure each one is working well. On a typical day, my work is divided into two parts. First, I have to check each furnace’s temperature and gas flow meter with the Electronic department to ensure everything is functioning normally. Second, I have to conduct a variety of tests for each furnace: thermal cycle tests, thermocouple verification, and atmosphere analyses for the combustion system. When operation of the furnace is temporarily paused, I can go inside to check other aspects like the burner and working beam. My role is crucial to plant safety.
How has your career evolved while at Vallourec?When I first started at Vallourec in 2017, I spent a month in each department to get to know the people and job better. Initially, I thought I would work in the Quality department, but my manager felt I was a better fit for the Maintenance department. Now, I’m responsible for furnaces.
What are the benefits of working for an international company like Vallourec?Vallourec has given me the opportunity to gain new skills and learn new ways of working. I’ve also really benefited from the fact it’s an international company. For example, I was able to benefit from a five-month exchange program at the Vallourec Research Center in France. There, I discovered new technologies and developed problem-solving skills. As I result, I came back to the Tianda plant with an excellent framework on how to prepare for the unexpected in my day-to-day work.
How would you describe your experience as a woman engineer?In the past, I’ve sometimes come across the view—whether at school, the workplace or in everyday life—that women are better-suited to “office work” like sales or finance, while men are better at technical, on-site work. It begins at high school, with the stereotype that girls study literature and boys study science, and it goes right through to the workplace where many employers hold the view that men are more physically capable of performing demanding jobs.
Every year, the number of female engineering graduates is increasing, so I’m optimistic we’re moving in the right direction.Wang Dandan Process engineer at Tianda
What advice would you give to another woman considering a career in engineering?Be confident! And by focusing on your higher education, you’ll be well-qualified to get a job in engineering.