Jordan finishes top of the class – and makes University history

Posted on 26th October 2017

An engineering graduate has made a piece of University of Chester history, by finishing top of the class of the first ever group of graduating Chemical Engineers.

Jordan Jones, who is 21 and from Holyhead, Anglesey, received a First Class Honours Degree, and is part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering’s first cohort of students, who will be graduating next week.  The Faculty started life just over three years ago at Thornton Science Park, and was the first new Faculty of Science and Engineering to be established in the UK in more than two decades.

Jordan has also benefited from the Faculty’s close links with industry on site at Thornton Science Park. Within weeks of completing his studies, he started work as a Graduate Process Co-ordinator and Site Engineer for PowerHouse Energy Group plc, a leading waste-to-energy company who are newly established tenants in Thornton’s Energy Centre.

Jordan explained what drew him to study at Thornton: “I chose the University of Chester as I was looking for a university which offered chemical engineering in an ideal location with excellent academic opportunities and social aspects. I was convinced to come to this university after I visited Thornton Campus during an open day. The facilities that were on offer at the site confirmed that this was the right university for me.”

He added: “From a young age, I knew I wanted to be an engineer but I wasn’t 100 per cent sure of the exact discipline. It was difficult to decide between marine engineering, aeronautical engineering and chemical engineering. In the end, I chose to complete a chemical engineering degree because it was a more rounded and complete option. For instance, I could use my chemical engineering degree to go into those other areas of engineering at a later date but it would be a lot harder to obtain a process engineering role with a marine engineering degree. I think that going to university and studying chemical engineering has been the correct decision. I have made some great friends, gained an abundance of engineering knowledge and it has allowed me to develop a lot of new transferable skills which I could take into many different industries.”

Jordan credits the University with its support and emphasis on industrial placements, which has helped him to find such impressive graduate employment so quickly: “The University of Chester helped me secure three internships over the summers that I was here, one at the end of the first year and two in the second year. The engineering experience I gained from these internships has been incredible, and they have 100% contributed to the grade and the job I have acquired. Internships allow you to gain further practical knowledge and also to apply the theoretical knowledge you have gained from university to real life situations. They also look great on CVs for future employers and the experience gained from completing projects is excellent to bring up when talking to potential future employers. The links with industry that the Thornton Campus has are excellent, and should be taken advantage of.”

Professor Steve Wilkinson, Head of Chemical Engineering at the University of Chester, said: “Jordan graduated at the top of our first group of graduating Chemical Engineers. I’m genuinely delighted that he has secured a top graduate job working for Powerhouse, developing their pioneering gasification technology.”

David Ryan, Director of Powerhouse Energy Group, added: “We hired Jordan on his excellent academic performance and I am pleased that his practical engineering application has matched his previous excellent academic results. He has made a positive contribution to our research programme.”

For others wishing to follow in his footsteps, Jordan is keen to emphasise that balance is the key to a successful University experience: “Obviously being one of the first people to obtain a first-class honours degree in chemical engineering from the University of Chester is a huge privilege but it did not come easily, the hard work and dedication that was put into achieving this qualification was immense. The staff, the facilities and my peers were excellent throughout the three years; all the lecturers provided the students with excellent support and guidance. One of the best bits of advice I could give to students is that they should ensure they have the correct balance between their work (with lectures, assignments, and revision), and their social life, and also to remember that hard work will pay off.”

He added: “My main goal over the upcoming years is to become a professionally recognised chemical engineer and to stride towards achieving chartered status. Eventually I would like to find myself in an engineering based managerial role, but this will hopefully come with experience.”