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A process engineer develops economical industrial processes to make the huge range of products on which modern society depends including food and drink, fuel, artificial fibres, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, plastics, toiletries, energy and clean water. They may work in small, medium and large businesses.

The work is concerned with chemical and biochemical processes through which raw materials undergo change, and involves scaling up processes from the laboratory into the processing plant. Duties include designing equipment, understanding the reactions taking place, installing control systems, and starting, running and upgrading processes. Environmental protection and health and safety aspects are also significant concerns of the role.

Work is project-oriented and you may be working on a number of projects, all at various different stages, at any given time. Potential candidates will need to show evidence of communication and interpersonal skills, managerial and teamwork skills, problem-solving and analytical ability, accuracy and attention to detail. Freelance or consultancy work is an option, or alternatively you may take on corporate or technological responsibilities.

Some process engineers will move into more specialist technical roles, such as safety and risk management, while other opportunities may include commercial areas such as technical sales, marketing, supply chain management, personnel, finance and IT.

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