Student Placement Showcase – Petrofac Training Services

Following on from our previous placement showcases in 2012, we start the new year with Bobby Stroud who gives us an insight into his four month placement with Petrofac Training Services.

Q: What was your key role and responsibilities?

A: I was required to update training materials that were seen by 1000’s of students taking Petrofac offshore training courses around the world. I had to stay in contact with a handful of people located in the Middle East who were the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) of the courses I was redesigning and they would regularly give me my workload. I would also occasionally be in contact with local SMEs where I would visit them in person to discuss what was to be done.

Q: What did an average days work consist of?

A: My main task was to design a new standard for the power points of the training courses offered. Once that was created I had to put all the power points into this standard. I would apply the template I created but it would never solve everything so I had to rearrange all of the text, change the font, colours, images etc. The same had to be done for all of the various word documents such as assessments and hand-outs.
In the downtime after completing a quota of power points I would redesign various diagrams for the power points. The diagrams would be illegible as they were often poorly scanned from text books so I would have to recreate the diagram in Adobe Illustrator and try to add the illusion of a 3D object by adding shading. At other times I would use Adobe Photoshop to edit an existing diagram to make it suitable.

Q: What were key highlights of your placement?

A: Near the end I got to meet a lot of the SMEs that I talked with every week from the Middle East via teleconference/e-mails. It was interesting putting faces to the names and voices .

Q: What are your personal thoughts on the placement ?

A:Initially I was pleased with my placement as simply editing power points and word documents was dead easy, however I soon found myself looking for more variety. After a while though the weekly Powerpoint workload became less severe and I got to redesign the diagrams in them instead. I did about 80 diagrams while I was there with some of them taking up to 10 hours to complete because they were insanely detailed. Playing about on Illustrator all day was fun especially when everyone else around you in the office was looking at boring old spread sheets. The fact that I had no deadlines to do the drawings meant I could work at my own pace finishing only once I had made a masterpiece I was proud of.

I was initially hired as a 3D modeller and have been offered a place for Summer 2013 to do the same work but this time create the diagrams via 3D modelling, this will hopefully involve even more creative designing and less Powerpoints.

Q:What would be your advice to other students thinking of doing a placement?

A: Read your e-mails! Two days before I was meant to start I got a phone call asking where I was from one of the HR staff. Turns out my start date had been pushed forward by two days and I had no idea. So I told the woman I was currently in my bed and arrived to work on my first day over an hour late. Oops!!!

Shown below is a selection of diagrams that I created during my time at Petrofac:

3D Diagram of an air cooler

3D Diagram of a heat exchanger

3D Diagram of a Plug Valve

3D Diagram of a Butterfly Check Valve.