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Chemistry: Molecular Sciences (track)
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Eva Bontje

Current position: Maintenance manager
Employer: Tata Steel
Master’s programme: Chemistry – Molecular Simulation and Photonics (now: Molecular Sciences)

Navigating a competitive job market

'When searching for a job, I looked online for business courses and masterclasses at several organisations. A lot of companies organise these full-day programmes, during which you do some business cases, meet the organisation’s young professionals, and are given presentations. You really get to know the company and they get to know you through the business cases. The market is competitive – they often only select 10 trainees a year for example – but there are not so many people with a background in the field of Chemistry, especially not in those companies. After attending the ‘in-house day’ of Tata Steel I was enthusiastic and I applied for the technical traineeship. This is a two-year position, in which you work at several departments on several projects.  This way you get to know the company very well. Apart from your work, there is a personal development programme, which shapes your professional management skills. '

Never a dull moment

'Currently, I work as a maintenance manager at the Tata Steel location in Ijmuiden. I am responsible for the maintenance, repair and technical improvement of all the installations of four plants (including a coal grinding plant and a water purification plant). For this, I have a great team of mechanical and electrical engineers. Every morning I start at 07:00 and meet with people from production and maintenance and we briefly discuss the last 24 hours and the coming day. Afterwards it can be hectic, especially during maintenance stops when a lot of work is done in the plant. However, some days are quieter, with more time for improvement projects and enhancing safety standards in and around the plants. It’s varied work, so there’s never a dull moment. I love working in a manufacturing environment, as you immediately see the fruits of your labour. And last but not least, it’s simply impressive to work in a plant that makes liquid iron; seeing this incredibly hot liquid coming out of blast furnace.'

Putting theory into practice 

'My main aim after obtaining my Master’s degree was to work for an organisation in a position where I could apply my technical knowledge and skills in a commercial environment. Tata Steel is the perfect match in that regard. I can literally put my knowledge into practice here! Because Tata Steel is such a big company it offers a wide range of challenging projects with its complex business processes. You can also work in a wide variety of fields throughout your career, so you never have to get bored. All this makes Tata Steel the perfect place to work for me. My advice to students with regard to their future career is simple: do what you like to do and you will (probably) be good at it.'