Rosie Chabva, alumna, BEng (Hons) Chemical and Process EngineeringFrom a career switch to global project management in the engineering industry: Rosie's impressive achievements show it's never too late to change your mind
From a relatively early age, Rosemary Chabva knew that she wanted to move into a career where she would be able to help other people. A career in medicine seemed the ideal fit – at least to start with.
“After my A-levels, I found myself on a pre-medical school course,” recalls Rosie. “However, the reality of a lifetime of blood and guts hit me, and I fell out of love with what I had previously been convinced was my life’s calling.”
Inspirational chemical engineer
Fortunately, medicine’s loss would prove to be engineering’s gain. “I remembered a talk I had attended by a very inspirational chemical engineer; detailing how engineering can change people’s lives for the better,” explains Rosie. “I realised it would be the ideal way to improve people’s lives without upsetting my squeamish side, so I joined the BEng (Hons) Chemical and Process Engineering degree at LSBU.”
After completing her degree, Rosie joined a four year graduate scheme with Fluor, a leading integrated engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction company. “In those four years, I’ve worked in the mining and oil and gas industries, working in both engineering and project management roles,” she says. “I’m still with the company, working as a process engineer.”
Great learning opportunity
In her current role, Rosie is supporting a project in the last stages of construction. “My activities are centred on checking that all systems are constructed as per the design before we hand the facility to the client,” she says. “I enjoy it because it is all about working with others to find solutions, and it is great to see that come to fruition. The project has been executed across several offices, so I am communicating with colleagues as far as the Philippines and the Middle East, which has been a great learning opportunity.”
It’s a career that Rosie feels has delivered what she wanted – to help improve the lives of others – and she feels her time at LSBU has been instrumental in helping her to achieve that. “My final year design project really helped me because it was a simulation of a project from conception to detailed design stage,” she says. “There was also an emphasis on managing client relationships, which is how we work in the engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction industry.”
Our lecturers had industry experience, so were able to prepare us using real life examples alongside the theoretical elements of the course. The small class sizes meant that they had the time to invest in us as individuals too, and that really makes a difference.
Another element of Rosie’s time at LSBU that she feels helped to prepare her for work was the employability scheme. “I was mentored by an LSBU chemical engineering alumni,” she says. “She provided valuable guidance on job hunting, and helped me refine my CV to make sure I was ready for the job market.”
Rosie is currently working towards Chartered Engineer status with the Institute of Chemical Engineers. “After that, I plan to continue what I’ve been doing – letting opportunity take me where it will!” she says. “I believe that if you do your best in the role you are currently in, even better opportunities will find you. If you focus too much on the roles you would like in the future, you’ll lose focus on what you are currently doing, and that can stop you demonstrating your potential.”
Read more about studying BEng (Hons) Chemical and Process Engineering at LSBU.