In her People Story, Rianne talks about her career, her impression of Evonik as employer and her experiences as a woman in a male-dominated profession. "Believe in yourself!" - that's the message Rianne sends out to all women.
Tell us about your Evonik journey and your current position.
We had to find an internship for our chemical process technology dual learning, where we worked in production for 15 weeks. In my case it was Evonik, at the methionine unit. My internship started at the end of 2018. The team I ended up with gave me a lot of opportunities. I was able to follow and try everything, in a safe way of course. They also quickly taught me how important cooperation is in this profession. In June 2019, I received the news that I could start here as a permanent employee. I could stay in the same department and on the same team. Then a part of the department closed. A large number of staff members had to change departments and I was one of them. That's how I ended up at Oxeno. The big difference is that here we mainly work with gases and on methionine we did work with liquids and solids. Here I learned a lot of new techniques and other ways to do the same job. After six months, there was the news that my original department was going to expand again. They needed 20 extra staff members for this. So I decided to apply and go back to Methionine. In June 2021, I will move back to Methionine but with one year more experience. In this way, it also became clear to me that there can be a lot of difference in the same job.
Which opportunities were offered to you at Evonik?
I had the chance to do an internship here at Evonik and this also enabled me to deliver a good thesis. Thanks to Evonik, I graduated with a good mark. Afterwards, I got the offer to start here as a permanent employee. I grabbed the chance with my both hands. I was also able to follow some training courses so that I could do my job even better. These are experiences that I also can use in my daily life. I still learn a lot every day, which I see as a positive experience.
Evonik also gave me the opportunity to do some interviews. For example, I was able to speak to Jinnih Beels, an important person in Belgium, about dual learning.
In retrospect, would you do anything differently?
In the future, there will be a balance between the number of women and men in production units. We can already see this at the site in Singapore. We have staff here who temporarily help out at another site, at the first start-up for example, and they find it easy to work that way. I believe it will work like that here eventually. If we look at the educations - chemical process technology, the study I did- more and more women are graduating.
How do you think the diversity aspect will develop in the future?
Not really. I am very satisfied with the studies I have done. The internship I had at Evonik was exactly what I had imagined. As a result, I knew exactly what I wanted when I started working here. After a few months, I received bad news that part of my department was closing down and that 20 people had to move. In my new department, I would have done a few things differently if I could have started again. It was much bigger, so I had to learn in a different way than in my previous department. I would have started combining the two ways of studying earlier than staying with the first way for a long time. That is the only thing I would do differently. I am very satisfied with all my other choices.
Do you have any advice for other women in your profession?
Keep believing in yourself. Some people will say that it is not a woman's job, that you cannot do it, that women are too weak. Meanwhile, there are plenty of women who have proven otherwise. Ignore all remarks and do what you like! And keep believing in your own abilities. It’s better if you can prove them wrong.
Role title: Process Operator
Based: Antwerp, Belgium
Division: Performance Materials
Joined Evonik : 2018
Study: Chemical process technology (dual learning)