Thiago Oliveira mentors future engineers through AVEVA’s academic mentorship program

Posted: April 29, 2022 

With digital transformation accelerating the pace of change in businesses, new talent entering the workforce needs to stay ahead of the innovation curve and learn the software tools propelling technological advancements. However, for many chemical engineering students, the textbook method of learning is still commonplace in many educational institutions. With the industry and its use of technology changing by the day, students’ knowledge can easily rely on outdated methodologies and demonstrations.

To encourage the next generation of talent, AVEVA is implementing a number of initiatives – such as the AVEVA™ Process Simulation Competition – to fast-track STEM students’ knowledge of industrial tools. AVEVA also encourages employees to cultivate aspiring engineers through mentorship.

AVEVA Senior Technical Manager for the Latin American region Thiago Oliveira first became a mentor at the SENAI CETIQT Chemical Engineering School on behalf of AVEVA in 2018.  In this blog, Thiago reflects on his experience as a mentor:

Becoming a student mentor

I first joined AVEVA in 2011 as an Application Consultant in the Global Customer Support (GCS) division at AVEVA. Almost 10 years later, I became Senior Technical Manager for the Latin American region, responsible for the customer support and delivery of the engineering portfolio within AVEVA solutions.

My journey to becoming a student mentor began through word of mouth. In my technical role, I was uniquely positioned to offer students advice on translating their studies to the professional field, and I soon registered for the mentorship program with the SENAI CETIQT Chemical Engineering School, ready to be partnered with students close to finishing their degree course. My AVEVA colleagues, too, soon saw the benefit of educating the next generation of engineers for a digital-first future.

Guiding the next generation of engineers

In an increasingly automated and advanced environment, it is vital to prepare the workforce of tomorrow to ensure they are familiar with a wide range of tools. With the highest pressure for change appointed to the next generation, it’s clear that such mentorship opportunities are a real chance for the industry to cultivate and educate aspiring engineers.

For young students, joining a mentorship program is an invaluable opportunity to truly align learning to the expectations and operations of an ever-transforming workplace. My mentoring experience ranged from subjects related to software and engineering, but also to the topic of digital transformation, its ongoing impact, and the agility it offers to the sector. Because the modern student needs to be proactive about learning market trends and changes in the field, the opportunity to be a mentor for two or three students at a time gave them direct access to first-hand insight that, in some parts, could not be gained from university alone.

Essentially, I have become an extension of their learning - their professional set of eyes that can seek out opportunities on their behalf that they may not otherwise be aware of. One of the ways I achieve this is by recommending relevant events that would be beneficial for the students to attend. This includes AVEVA events or other events that are free across the globe.

In the past, I have reserved places for some of my students to attend public classes hosted by AVEVA, aimed to educate participants on AVEVA solutions and products. Usually only limited to professionals, this provides my students with hands-on experience in solving practical solutions. With AVEVA software so widely used across all aspects of the industry, these classes are invaluable for young talent, giving them the opportunity to comprehend the solutions they’ll likely encounter later in their careers.

For example, in 2021, some of these students attended hackathons relating to 3D design and process simulation, ensuring they experienced the role of technology in the plant facility process before they entered a competitive pool of graduate engineers all seeking work. In such events, students are introduced to what they are likely to face in their immediate early career - an experience that a classroom simply cannot offer.

The AVEVA Process Simulation Competition

My participation in the mentorship program has opened exciting doors for engineering students and for AVEVA. With the close relationship formed with SENAI CETIQT Chemical Engineering School, AVEVA now hopes to expand this initiative to more regions around the world. It has also sparked conversations with educational institutions to implement AVEVA solutions, such as AVEVA™ E3D Design or the simulation portfolio, into their curriculum in 2022.

AVEVA is also committed to investing in the careers of aspiring engineers by offering hands-on experience through the AVEVA Process Simulation Competition. Designed to aid students in transferring the skills they have learned in the classroom to a real-life engineering problem, the program provides a unique opportunity for growth. By learning about AVEVA Process Simulation via the competition, previous students have noted the profound impact it has had on their early careers.

With technological change creating historic shifts within industry, I hope to see students across many universities provided with the opportunity to engage on a personal level with the industry via professional mentorships. 

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