Q&A with a Graduate Reservoir Engineer at Shell
Bronwyn Yates is a Graduate Reservoir Engineer with Shell. GradAustralia met with Bronwyn to get an insider's view into life as a grad at Shell
Why did you want to work for Shell?
Shell appealed to me due to their global nature. They have offices all over the world, which opened up a lot of opportunities for training in other countries and the possibility of undertaking travel as part of my graduate program. They also have a very high standard for the training and development for their graduates, which I was very excited about.
How did hear about the position?
Shell always had a presence at the career fairs and local conferences I attended while at university. I also did some internet research on graduate programs and spoke to some recent graduates about opportunities in the market.
How did you get the job?
Companies often recruit for their graduate programs the year before the roles start, so if you apply in 2015, the job won’t begin until 2016. In my case, I applied and secured the position before I finished university so I didn’t have to wait a year before I began work.
What does your role entail?
As part of a project team, my work contributes to the overall project goals and objectives. At the moment I am working with geologists and other engineers to look at the subsurface of oil and gas fields to make decisions about things such as recoverable volumes, the type of wells we want to use, how many to use and where to send the extracted products. I use different types of software and technology to model these situations, test different parameters and assess the impact they will have on our project.
What are the best aspects of your job?
I work with a great variety of people, which is really rewarding. Shell has a great coaching and mentoring program which I’ve found to be really useful. It was also great to have really meaningful and challenging work straight away.
What are some of the challenges?
Certain times of the year we have mandatory reporting to deliver and the deadlines can be pretty tight. So during these periods we may be working longer hours, but this can be balanced later on during less busy periods – but that’s a part of working for a global company like Shell.
Any tips for future applicants?
Having good interpersonal skills, and being able to work with different people are essential. Fortunately I had a chance to learn and practice these skills when I worked at a restaurant during university. The job is quite high pressure, so you need to learn to communicate well and treat people respectfully. Also, I have learned to take a step back, look at the big picture and then prioritise the important tasks to get things done efficiently. Another key skill is integrity. You need to strive to do the best job that you can and be autonomous in completing that work.
How does the program work?
It is completely structured. At the start of the program the grads are given individual development agreement with goals and performance targets. Each year the document is updated and assessed according to your performance. The aim is to develop competencies in certain areas by giving the graduates specific tasks and courses to complete by the end of the program.
Where do you want to be in a few years time?
At the moment I’m focused on building up my broad technical skills so that I can be an expert in what I do – and I’m working toward being the person that other people come to for advice, help and to work on their projects.