Mar 30, 2023

A team player with good craftsmanship skills

Vanessa is a control room and plant operator in a chemical production plant at the Wesseling site, Germany. The 29-year-old is responsible for a complex network of plants. So her job is both versatile and challenging. And that’s exactly what the trained chemical plant operator loves about her work.

From behind six screens, she watches to see whether everything is running exactly as specified. Every two hours, Vanessa goes on inspection rounds and collects samples for the shift lab. She uses a tablet on her rounds to record any noteworthy information. “This also allows us to photographically document what we’ve noticed, so we can show workmen what needs to be done.”

Vanessa is known as a colleague with a positive outlook and an infectiously good mood. The shift work binds the team together: “My colleagues are great people – we’re there for one another.” While she is the only woman on her shift, she is one of six in the plant. Whether they have work-related questions about the plant, or would like help in their private lives when moving home, they all try to support one another. “Four of us sat our crane operator’s test together – and we celebrated our success with a meal afterwards,” Vanessa commented. She attaches a great deal of importance to showing that she can work just as hard as her male colleagues. “Here, everyone in the plant works together and shares their knowledge and experience.”

Each new shift begins with a verbal handover to the incoming staff: “Were there any particular incidents?” For example, if a pump had to be changed or a container filled. During repairs, she accompanies workmen into the plant as a security guard. Vanessa liked the idea of being out and about, as opposed to constantly sitting at a desk. That’s why – after completing an apprenticeship to become a management assistant – she decided to start all over again in 2016 and become a chemical technician. Completing the second training course was worthwhile: “I like it a thousand times better here.” Even though that meant she had to sacrifice her leisure time for a while – especially during her further training to become an industrial supervisor, which is a must for someone who wants to become a team leader one day. But since she successfully graduated, Vanessa finally has a little more time to spare for her group of friends.

Go back