Day in the Life: Technical support engineer

My morning:

Coming from a traditional Hindu family, I was taught the power of praying and meditation so my day starts by offering prayer, which helps me cope with daily ups and downs. I make sure I talk to my parents back in India before I reach the office at 9am where I plan out my day first of all. I won’t miss my cup of green tea because it kick-starts my day. It is a kind of lubricant for my mind.

I work for Intertek, which is a leading quality solutions provider to industries worldwide, including the oil and gas industry. The team I work with calibrates equipment and instruments for clients. My first task of the day is typically checking on e-mails for urgent queries and updates on all the projects and ongoing work.

Ritika Pawar

My role focuses on the technical aspects of our projects. This includes researching the requirements for the jobs being carried out all over the world, from Aberdeen to Papua New Guinea.
I also check the certification and calculations generated by our team members. I assist with training team members in various project aspects, from related software to equipment selection and required standards.

This is very important to ensure the accuracy of all equipment used for measurement, metering and calibration in oil and gas operations. Even the smallest inaccuracy can have a significant implication.
For example, if the calculation of the amount of oil coming into a pipeline is slightly off, this can mean the allocation of the hydrocarbons coming out of the pipeline is inaccurate, which can have a big financial impact.

There is always something new to learn, so some of my time is taken up with research on new equipment coming on to the market. We need to be aware of all these things as new technology is always key in our projects and we need to know about the technical specifications required.

I enjoy learning about new technology and engineering because I’ve always been curious about how things work – from how the alarm clock ticks to how the TV functions. Everything has a different kind of engineering behind it and understanding how things work attracted me to this career. Engineering is the answer to nearly every question we have about our surroundings.

My lunchtime:
Most people in my office have a set lunchtime, but sometimes I am so engrossed in my work that I forget to take lunch and find myself grabbing a bite to eat at the afternoon tea break.

My afternoon:
I am mainly desk-based and my days vary. Some afternoons will be spent checking specifications and calculations for equipment about to be sent out for a job.
I also get involved in the quality, health, safety and environment (QHSE) for our site in Dyce.
I have completed the United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) 17025 Assessor Training. As a calibration laboratory, we need to be UKAS-accredited for our quality and management systems.
I am also the quality and safety representative, so I undertake inspections, internal audits and am the main point of contact for health and safety when we are audited externally, under the guidance of Intertek’s QHSE manager.

I have a technical mind and my favourite aspect of the job is discovering and learning new things.
While I gained a lot of knowledge in my studies, learning is continual. Thinking on your feet and figuring things out is all part of this.
I face new challenges every day and I enjoy that, it makes me really use my mind. You have to think outside of the box and come up with new solutions all of the time, so I find this aspect particularly enjoyable.

My evening:
Leaving my parents and India to start a new life in Aberdeen was a big challenge.
It was a new atmosphere and the weather was also an adjustment as it wasn’t that cold where I come from, Madhya Pradesh, in the heart of India.
I came to Aberdeen in 2010; it was particularly cold and I saw snow for the first time in my life.

I met a lot of people through involvement in local oil and gas organisations and after work I often attend Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) meetings.
I am a co-chair of the SPE student development committee, student development officer for the SPE Young Professionals and I was in the SPE European Artificial Lift Forum (EuALF) 2014 steering committee.
I am also on the committee of the Energy Institute (EI) and was the EIYPN- DEVEX representative for 2014. I joined these committees while studying and that helped me get to know the industry and make new friends.

Through EI, I was elected as one of the ten students from the UK to attend the World Petroleum Congress in 2011 in Doha, Qatar, which was a fantastic event.
I would recommend that students get involved in these bodies, if not on committees then at least attending the networking events to meet new people and learn about technologies.

Even with all of these activities, I still make time for hobbies. I love doing yoga and meditation, which bring me peace of mind.

If I don’t have any SPE meetings or EI events then I will be back home around 6pm. I will do my yoga and meditate and then typically cook Indian food at home in the evening.
My flatmates and I are all Indian so we enjoy cooking traditional dishes for each other. I am a vegetarian and my favourite is a spicy cottage cheese curry.

Being busy is something I enjoy, so I take part in lots of activities in and out of work.
Recently I gave a presentation to graduate and undergraduate students regarding the benefits of being an SPE member. I was also on the panel for a Women in STEM event at the University of Aberdeen to encourage more women to choose science subjects.

I look forward to advancing my career at Intertek. I am fortunate because the people here are great to work with and I am also on the Intertek social committee so I can use my love of socialising and networking to benefit our company.


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