Q&A with a Graduate Operations Support Engineer at Shell

Sarah Waslin is an operations support engineer for Shell. GradAustralia met with Sarah to get an insider's view on life as a graduate at Shell
Lynn Elsey
Lynn Elsey
Team GradAustralia

Why were you interested in working for Shell?

I wanted to join Shell not only for their global portfolio but also because of the extensive number of future investments and ventures they had planned within Australia. Also, the opportunity to develop as a production engineer really interested me – it offered a balance between expanding my technical background with operational experience and knowledge.

How does the graduate program work?
It offers an in-depth structure to encourage development. With the support of a manager, technical coach and discipline lead, graduates are directed through a range of specified technical competencies and intensive training courses in order to become prepared and competent to roll off the program.
I started in production excellence, focusing on driving integration across the different asset teams of the Prelude project, which is Shell’s first deployment of its floating LNG technology. I am now working in production operations where my role is more focused on developing the processes and tools required to make the project operational.

The best aspects?
I am lucky to be working on the world’s largest floating offshore facility which will allow the production, liquefaction, storage and transfer of LNG at sea. I started at an exciting time as we are preparing for utilities start-up of the facility – a critical stage of the project. As a result, I frequently travel to Korea to see how the work we are doing in Perth is being implemented.

What has been most challenging?
Most of my graduate development and personal focus was on gaining operational experience, so entering the project phase has been challenging. However by developing the requirements for operations, coupled with commissioning and start-up experience in Korea, I have a more detailed understanding of how things will look and work once we do enter the operational phase.

The most surprising aspect of your job?
It was surprising to find just how much of the project is and will be achieving through virtual and remote collaboration, including facing and meeting challenges between Perth and Korea.

Any advice to current students?
Preparing yourself for a role is best done through activities outside of university. Challenging yourself through travel, volunteering, different work environments and passionate hobbies will make you more adaptable to new roles and experiences.