Keren Ship (Process Engineer)

What do Process Engineers do?
Process Engineers decide on the most effective flow diagram for a particular production process. The production process can be anything from producing gold to making perfume. The flow diagram shows conceptually how the raw materials will be processed into the final product. The relevant flow quantities (volumes, pressures, temperatures etc) are decided to meet the production target. Types and sizes of the various items of process equipment are selected and calculated. We also decide how the final process will be controlled, including which measurement devices (instrumentation) and what piping sizes and types are needed. We may then be involved in the specification of the equipment and instrumentation and reviewing the bids from vendors to choose the best equipment supplier. We are also usually involved in the training and start-up of the new process, once it is built.

The Process Engineer always works closely with a team of engineers from other disciplines – chemical, electrical, instrumentation, mechanical and to a lesser extent, civil. In an operations environment, the Process Engineer would supervise the day-to-day operation and measure and report on the performance of the process and the quality of the product.

What education is needed?
In Israel, a Bachelor’s Degree (usually 4 years) is sufficient to get started, although a second degree is always viewed favorably. The same situation exists in North America, although more recognition of experience rather than degrees is given, especially in Canada.

What work settings are available for Process Engineers in Israel?
There are three or four large engineering design companies which provide services to industry both in Israel and abroad. There are also smaller engineering design companies who work exclusively in Israel for companies such as Dead Sea Works, Teva, Frutarom, Haifa Chemicals, Osem, Tnuva etc etc. These industries also require process engineers in their production facilities.

What licensure is required?
The degrees must be registered by the Office of Engineers.

Do I need to know Hebrew?
It definitely helps, although you may be able to get by with poor Hebrew in a company that work a lot in English. Some smaller local firms work only in Hebrew.

What experience is needed?
Generally, 2-3 years experience for entry level positions is needed, however, companies are also amenable to hiring recent graduates.

What is the market like?
It is cyclical. In North America many of the engineers would be on short term contracts and would be let go during the dull periods – and rehired when more work came in. In Israel, employers tend to want to hold and develop their people, so they are not so quick to downsize in a slow period.

Are there any technical differences to be aware of between Israel and the US?
The power supply is different. In addition, Israelis tend to write QA procedures, but there is no encouragement to stick to them.

What is the average salary range?
8,500 entry level, then mid to senior level 10,500 – 20,000, sometimes with a car. The salaries are 1/2 to 1/4 the Canadian salaries.

What are the best routes for continuing education?
There are Masters’ programs at the Technion in Haifa or at Ben Gurion in Be’er Sheva.

Do I need to join any professional organizations?

Other advice?
There are jobs in engineering available, but perhaps not exactly in your field of experience. Be flexible in your job search criteria – be prepared to take a job at a lower level, perhaps in a parallel field, and learn as you go.

A special thank you to Keren Ship, who made Aliyah with Nefesh B’Nefesh in 2003, for her participation in this interview. Keren is a Senior Process Engineer who works for Bateman, Advanced Technologies, Israel. She works primarily in mineral processing and solvent extraction for international projects.

Mike Sassoon (Chemical Engineer Consultant)

Please provide us with a brief description of your field
I work in the field of energy, heat transfer, fluid flow and temperature control.

What is your current position?
I am a consultant, working for a number of companies, big and small. I also work part time as a R&D investigator in a university.

How did you find your job?
Essentially, I started from scratch as an independent worker when I was made redundant.

What education, background and experience should an Oleh looking to work in Chemical Engineering have?
Experience in the right field is the most helpful. Normally a first degree is the minimum requirement.

Is there any kind of license or certification you need, to work as a Chemical Engineer in Israel?
Most jobs do require a BSc in Chemical Engineering, but occasionally people are taken on at technician level.

How important is Hebrew in your field?

Although English is a must for high level jobs, Hebrew is very important if you want to get on within a company.

What do you find are the benefits of your job?
There are a variety of benefits. I deal with anything from solar power to cooling microchips.

Is this employment more in demand in certain areas of Israel?
A lot of the work comes from hi-tech Start Ups, so most of my work is where there is a concentration of this type of company (center and North).

What is the salary range?
A good senior position should command 30-40K NIS/month.

Do you have any other tips or advice for Olim?
Most jobs come from word of mouth or personal recommendations, so a new Oleh should concentrate on networking. Build up as large a pool of acquaintances as possible, starting with the veteran English speakers and gradually moving on to the mainstream. Be prepared to be flexible with the first job, it is more important to be seen working than to have history of “waiting for a job”. Once established, move on if the opportunity arises.

A special thank you to Mike Sassoon, Chemical Engineer consultant, for participating in this interview. For further information, please contact Mike at [email protected]

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