Currently based in Shanghai, thirty-one-year-old Robin Zhu is a project manager and part of BP’s Future Leaders Programme
The programme has enabled him to expand his skill set and diversify his career. “I’ve had multiple roles,” he explains. “I’ve worked in research and development, chemical engineering and been a project engineer. After I had been working in these technical roles for a few years, I decided that I wanted to get some experience of overseeing a project from end to end and come to life from a plan that I had designed.”
The FLP isn’t for everyone: selection is tough and those that do succeed will be expected to show initiative; it is designed for those candidates that want to be multi-skilled and enjoy a challenge.Robin, BP Future Leader
The Future Leaders Programme has afforded Robin the opportunity to do so. The FLP is a four-year global rotation programme which takes enthusiastic, talented people from a range of professional backgrounds and gives them the skills and opportunities to maximise their career development within BP. “We’re all given opportunities to work in a variety of functions,” says Robin. “For my next placement, I’ve been encouraged to consider a role in a different office – perhaps the US or the UK.”
But for now, he’s focused on the task at hand: working to increase product line efficiency to ultimately reduce the cost of energy. “I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to lead a global team made of brilliant people across six sites,” he says.
But it is not always plain sailing; the point of the Future Leaders Programme is to develop talented individuals in order to bring out the best in them and Robin is candid about his early experiences. “I was assigned to a special task on joining BP as part of the FLP. As a newcomer, with limited knowledge about the business and a limited network, I felt a bit overwhelmed,” he admits.
However, candidates are not left to sink or swim: people on the FLP are assigned mentors to help them overcome the obstacles that any business environment is always going to present. “I got a lot of support from my FLP mentor, my local mentor and my line manager,” Robin says – and, putting the guidance he received into practice, he was able to more than fulfil the project’s deliverables. “It’s a friendly environment,” he reflects. “We really are One Team. BPs core values - Courage, One Team, Excellence, Respect and Safety really chime with own value system.”
The FLP isn’t for everyone: selection is tough and those that do succeed will be expected to show initiative; it is designed for those candidates that want to be multi-skilled and enjoy a challenge. “It’s a great programme,” Robin concludes. “One thing that is unique to BP is that they never limit you from exploring new areas. The programme allows you to rotate between roles and locations, allowing you to try new challenges you might not have taken on before. [Now] I can be “plugged into” any project where I am needed.”
Future Leaders Programme
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