Secondary school pupils from across the north-east are being given help to shape their future by BP, as part of the ‘Career Ready’ scheme.
The six fifth and sixth-year pupils have been paired with an experienced mentor who can help them to develop their skills – both professionally and personally.
Two pupils from Hazlehead Academy and Northfield Academy and one pupil from St Machar Academy and Meldrum Academy took part in the scheme with BP.
One of the students, Jeswin Varghese, 17, from Hazlehead Academy revealed that he had learned a lot about the world of work while on the scheme.
He said: “I’ve gained quite a lot of skills that I think I might not be able to gain during school time, so writing an e-mail – I’m someone who doesn’t write a lot of e-mails – but I think I’ve learned how to write e-mails.
“How to approach other colleagues and talk to them – ask questions I think that’s something I don’t really do that often but I think I’ve learned to.”
His mentor, Manish Labroo, 41, is a senior well interventions engineer with the firm – and mentors are paired up with pupils based on their interests.
Jeswin said: “He’s a very approachable person and he’s helped me especially during exam period. I spoke to him about time management, I’m someone who’s very not very good at managing my time.
“I’ll say stuff I’ll do this and I’ll end up not doing it. He gave me ideas about how to manage my time, how to split my studying prior to exams. He’s told me to split stuff up and focus on my weaknesses rather than my strengths.”
With Jeswin’s ultimate aim to attend university and study mechanical engineering, his mentor has been able to help him find out more about the industry he wants to enter.
Mentor Manish said: “One of the good things is I am in a position where I can help him use my network – the people I know – and that’s the best I can do for him, and let him know the different stories and different paths people have taken to get to the same place.
“I can help him have a conversation with them to see the different paths and the journeys people have taken – knowing there’s no right or wrong – just different paths, and then basically find your own way.”
And he hopes that mentoring relationship could go on beyond the scheme’s two-year period.
He said: “I do (hope we can stay in contact), yes. What if he wants to come back to BP and work here? Hopefully he just doesn’t know me by the end of this and he knows a lot of people.”
Despite the challenging time in the oil and gas industry, Manish still believes that joining the scheme with BP can open doors for a successful career.
He said: “That’s the best thing – he’s in mechanical engineering – that is nothing to do with oil and gas so people think they have this view that when you go to an oil company all you do is look after oil and gas – it’s not.
“At this stage they don’t have to make those choices to commit themselves to the oil and gas industry – they are just committing to a discipline which is mechanical.”
During the paid internship the pupils are expected to add value to the company, by putting into practice what they have learned on the scheme.
Supervisor Laura Steedman, 23, explained some of the ways that Jeswin had been able to help in the office.
She said: “Right now we’re looking into improving efficiency on platforms to optimise production and one thing that we’re looking at is around a pump and improving the efficiency of this pump.
“There’s a bunch of people in here that have got so stuck in their ways.
“Like myself – I’ve been looking at this project for a few months now and then Jeswin just came along and read one of my reports just recently and said what’s this about?
“He identified a mistake in my report just by asking questions. If you get the right kind of person, it doesn’t matter what kind of experience they’ve got, it’s the ability to question things and that’s what the programme is about.”
The scheme consists of four areas of activity including master classes, workplace visits, mentoring and a four-week internship at the start of the summer holidays.