Jake is one of our leading pupils in the Department of Design, Engineering and Technology (DET) and was the winner of the GMM Pfaudler Sponsored Engineering Award in June 2022. This included the opportunity for Jake to get some direct experience and work with the site teams in Level over the October holidays. Pfaudler have been strong supporters of Leven Academy for many years and Jake is the latest of several pupils to benefit from work experience with them.
GMM Pfaudler is the leading technologies, systems and services provider for the chemical, pharmaceutical, food and energy industry. They have a large operation close to Levenmouth Academy where they design, manufacture, install and service corrosion-resistant equipment and complete chemical process systems, bespoke to the requirements of their customers.
The company have always been involved in helping young people in the community by providing work experience placements and supporting wider placement schemes like DYW ‘AWARE’ project and ‘Career Ready’ programme. Jake got first-hand experience from Pfaudler experts across all aspects of their engineering activities, you can read more about this in his summary below.
Having GMM Pfaudler participating in these activities and engaging with the local community is a great asset for local young people and opens pathways for those who have a specific interest in an area of the business. Placements lead to employment or further education and help to develop a knowledge and understand of their potential career path.
Jake summarised his experience below with a day-to-day overview and said, “Overall, the experience was positive. I learned a small but valuable amount of information about a larger scale manufacturing plant, compared to another factory I’ve worked at. Both factories fall under Engineering but both are very different. One was electronics manufacturing and Pfaudler was mainly mechanical or trades.
Pfaudler served to show that there is variety of careers in engineering that I didn’t know about and there is a lot more that I don’t know about, leaving me wanting to peruse different types of work experience with my time left at school. This can lead to me making the best choice for my future career. I am very grateful for the opportunity I was given to see what my future in engineering could look like.”
Four-Day Work Experience Journey
I went into the engineering office briefly and then got a tour around the factory, the scale of which was huge compared to anything else I’d seen. For example, the overhead 30 tonne cranes or the huge blast furnace that can store 20ft pressure vessels. Then I returned to the engineering office where I was told about some of the physics and design elements that go into designing pressure vessels.
Tuesday and Wednesday:
On Tuesday morning I was kitted out with PPE and was sent to work with the fitters for the rest of the week. First, we tested a pressure vessel by filling it with water to 14 bar. The remainder of those days were spent up scaffolding, fitting components into and onto a pressure vessel. At first I wasn’t keen on the height but got more comfortable as the days progressed.
On my last day, I wanted to do something a bit different so, I ended up with a service engineer who explained different mechanical systems of parts or mechanisms. I also got a more in-depth tour of the machine shop with an apprentice who was a few years older than I. Whilst he was showing me around he gave an insight on how is life has been/changed since he left school and became an apprentice. Being at Pfaudler gave a me a much greater understanding of a mechanical engineering firm, and if I was to study a mechanical degree, how it would be used. After working as a fitter, I can appreciate the work but I’ve decided it’s not for me. However, the service engineer’s line of work was described as something I’d be more interested in. He said his job varies a good amount while travelling, which is something I would like to aim for. While speaking to the service engineer he spotted a lot of similarities between us. The phrase “Yeah I was the same” came up a lot. His younger life mirrored mine in many ways, suggesting I could follow a similar path to him.