Chemical and environmental engineering
Chemical engineering touches everything we do! It is the development of raw materials to useful products, the transformation of one thing to another. Chemical engineers create and optimise the systems and processes responsible for these transformations.
Environmental engineering is about providing a healthy environment for the world’s population and reducing the effect of adverse environmental factors. Environmental engineers work to improve recycling, waste disposal or air and water pollution control processes.
What do chemical and environmental engineers do?
What does a chemical engineer do?
Chemical engineering is all about turning raw materials into useful, everyday products. The clothes we wear, the food and drink we consume and the energy we use all depend upon chemical engineering.
Chemical engineers work out the processes to make all these products, while also helping to manage the world's resources, protect the environment and ensure health and safety standards are met.
Most jobs in the sector fall into one of two groups: the design, manufacture, and operation of plants and machinery, or the development of new or adapted substances and materials.
(Source:The Guardian Graduate Insights)
Your responsibilities might include:
- Ensuring a process or plant works at maximum productivity
- Designing plants, processes or equipment
- Researching new products and new technologies
You could be working in a lab, office or processing plant
What does an environmental engineer do?
As an environmental engineer you will use your engineering background to find solutions to complex environmental problems.
You may be working on issues such as climate change, drought, urbanisation, waste disposal and recycling, controlling environmental hazards and soil, water or air pollution. (Prospects).
Your responsibilities could include:
- Gathering data through site assessments and environmental monitoring
- Evaluating environmental impact
- Writing and presenting project proposals regarding environmental issues
- Liaising with and providing advice to with stakeholders about environmental issues
A degree in chemical or environmental engineering will allow you to apply for roles as a graduate chemical or environmental engineer.
The qualification will also provide you with the education base to work towards Incorporated Engineer (BEng) or Chartered Engineer (MEng) status through the Institute of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) or the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) which can be a good way of demonstrating and accrediting your professional competence as an engineer once you start in the workplace.
Careers within the environmental sector - written by our advisers
Prospects – chemical engineer job profile
Prospects - environmental engineer job profile
TARGETjobs - chemical (process) engineer job description
Who employs chemical and environmental engineers?
As a chemical or environmental engineering graduate there are a number of employment sectors which you could consider.
- Chemicals (organisations such as Ineos, Croda, Dow)
- Energy (Uniper, E.ON or Sellafield)
- Engineering or environmental consultancy (KBR, RPS Group)
- Food and Drink production (eg Mondelez, British Sugar)
- Fast-moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) (Unilever, Mars, Proctor & Gamble)
- Oil and Gas (BP, Exxon, Total)
- Pharmaceuticals (GSK, Astra Zeneca, Pfizer, Smith & Nephew)
- Recycling and waste management (Veolia, Suez Environment)
- Water (Severn Trent, Thames Water)
Explore where Nottingham graduates work
Where do I look for graduate and internship vacancies?
Start your job and internship search on MyCareer - we advertise hundreds of engineering roles including graduate positions, year-long placements and internships.
MyCareer - vacancies targeted at University of Nottingham students and graduates
For smaller companies or more specialist roles, a speculative approach may be useful. Research companies (rather than jobs) that you are interested in joining and consider how you could network with these organisations. You could send your CV and a covering letter speculatively, follow the company on LinkedIn or even approach someone on LinkedIn and ask for advice.
How do I increase my chances of success during the recruitment process?