Career paths: be inspired by these engineers to set you on your journey

Finding a job that truly motivates you can feel incredibly challenging and perhaps out of reach.

Whether that’s at the start of your career to set you on your journey, or throughout your career as you may wish to explore a different sector or move through career levels to more managerial roles, where do you start?

For undergraduates, recent graduates and existing employers these ambiguous feelings may be exacerbated by the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and who may be seeing a lack of placements or job opportunities in traditional oil-based sectors, with the effects amplified by the push for cleaner energies and feedstocks.

To support those job seeking, IChemE is producing a suite of careers-based resources. As part of this, The Chemical Engineer is interviewing a range of engineers working outside the fossil-fuel based sectors to shed light on the breadth of opportunities available.

The Career Paths series will profile around 20 engineers explaining what chemical engineering skills they use day-to-day, advice on transferable skills for moving between sectors, and what drives them to do the job they do.

Kickstarting the series, Tahani Kaldéus explains her work towards a greener fashion industry. Following several roles in the pharmaceutical and packaging industries, and then in academia, she is now Head of R&D and Innovation at textile recycling company Renewcell in Sweden.

Tahani shares what skills were helpful to secure her role at Renewcell, the most rewarding part of her role, and gives advice to graduate chemical engineers seeking to work in fashion and textiles.

Tahani Kaldéus

“Early on as an engineer, I was taught the importance to be analytical and not to be afraid to question the status quo.”

Tahani Kaldéus, Head of R&D and Innovation, Renewcell, Sweden

The second in the series sees Amrit Chandan talking about his focus on growing and scaling his company’s advanced lithium battery technology. The CEO and co-founder of Aceleron, UK, developed a passionate for clean energy during his university studies, where he focused on hydrogen fuel cells and their applications.

In the feature, Amrit explains how he adds value as a chemical engineer to his industry and gives advice to anyone considering moving into it.

Amrit Chandan

“If you can figure out your purpose and connect your day-to-day work with your purpose, you will set yourself up for success in not just your career, but in life.”

Amrit Chandan, CEO and co-founder of Aceleron, UK

Ranna Eardley-Patel also shares her career journey, moving through consumer goods, nanotechnology, biopharmaceuticals and most recently seconded to the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce developing  vaccines for COVID-19 and exploring partnerships with international bodies.

Ranna explains what she learned at university that has helped her throughout her career, as well as what she knows now that would have been useful at the start of her career.

Ranna Eardley-Patel | Photo courtesy of Geraldine Curtis

“Schools outreach has helped me hone my communication skills. If you can explain what you do to school pupils and their parents, then you can apply those same phrases to politicians and multi-billionaire-dollar investors.”

Ranna Eardley-Patel, technical lead for the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce

The fourth in the series sees Ella Howells explaining her switch from oil and gas to the drinks industry.

As the Bottling Maintenance Support Team Lead at Diageo’s Runcorn Beer Packaging Site, UK, Ella reveals her main responsibilities and how she’s contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in boosting gender equality and driving sustainable resource usage.

Ella Howells

“I believe you have to be part of the change to make the change, and by having more females on site this will only actively encourage more females to apply for positions in the future.”

Ella Howells, Bottling Maintenance Support Team Lead, Diageo’s Runcorn Beer Packaging Site, UK

Read the weekly Career Paths series online via The Chemical Engineer.

For more careers resources at an early career level or to help with skills transition and professional development, visit  

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