George joined the Shell Graduate Programme and works as a Technical Safety Engineer in Rijswijk. He studied at Imperial College London and holds a Chemical Engineering MEng degree.
I learn something new every day
I apply technical engineering in a fast-paced, live environment. My decisions are used to build real projects which I get to see develop before my very eyes. The job has a steep but positive learning curve. I do something for the first time and learn something new every day. I am a Technical Safety Engineer for the large-scale projects that Shell executes. I help to make sure that the new plants that Shell builds can be operated safely for the future. This involves designing process safety but also developing Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) items such as layouts, emergency responses and operator instructions. I spend a couple of hours a day working on my deliverables for a project. This involves writing reports based on modelling or safety studies, and these reports form the safety case for the project and provide the company with its licence to operate.
Combination of technical engineering and business
I was looking for a hands-on role that would give me the opportunity to apply my engineering background. I looked at a wide variety of industries but liked the fast-paced projects of the oil and gas industry. There is nothing routine about my job. Continuously thinking and applying your own initiative and creativity makes the role interesting. Around half my time is spent on unplanned troubleshooting to make sure that the project runs smoothly and that problems don’t lead to delays. I travel to the contractors and the site and interact with people to build relationships so I can achieve the results I want. I really love that my job involves both technical engineering and also business, which means that I get a view of the bigger picture.
Big emphasis on personal development
There is a big emphasis on personal development of both technical and non-technical skills. I spend at least an hour nearly every day giving and receiving feedback, reading reports and manuals, talking to my mentors and sharing ideas with other graduates. Working here offers great opportunities for the future.
The thing that surprised me the most about Shell is the individual level of responsibility that you get and the amount of trust placed in you. I imagined Shell to be very corporate and formal, however people are trusting and don’t constantly watch over your shoulder. This allows me to focus on my goals and work on them the way I think is best.
There is a lively Young Shell network in The Hague and in Rotterdam. A large number of graduates have moved to the Netherlands to work for Shell and they start at the same time. Shell encourages a good work-life balance so we can all hang out together.
If I were to describe my job in one word, it would be “diverse”!