Growing up, Natalie didn’t really have an understanding of what an Engineer did until she was inspired by a school teacher to understand more about all of the different problems Engineers around the world were helping to solve. This led her to apply for Mechanical Engineering at university. There, she thrived, enjoying her energy modules the most and deciding to tailor her dissertation towards Renewable Energy Storage.
It was this that led her to apply for bp’s graduate scheme.
Natalie now works as a subsea hardware engineer and is part of the team designing and delivering subsea xmas trees, which are essentially a stack of vertical and horizontal valves installed on a subsea wellhead to provide a controllable interface between the well and production facilities. She works directly with engineering vendors validating their designs, managing different risks and working to integrate the systems into the wider project for seamless operation further down the line. She sums up her role as a project engineer as “using a technical understanding to performance manage delivery for a project.”
Natalie is very outgoing, she describes herself as extroverted and gets her energy from speaking with and being around others. In her time at bp, that’s translated into a passion for fighting for and opening up conversations about equality in the workplace.
As a part of her work with bpWIN and the Women’s Network, Natalie created and co-hosts an internal podcast ‘Connect and Reflect’. So far, they’ve released nearly ten episodes focusing on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, interviewing different bp employees– from graduates to VPs – and talking about topics such as International Women’s Day, women in engineering, life offshore, and intersectionality.
Intersectionality is a topic Natalie’s particularly interested in raising greater awareness of.
She says the first step is having those conversations, even if they can be difficult at first. “A lot of people will have blind spots and unconscious biases they might not be aware of, I know I certainly will, but it's important to promote ways to increase awareness as to why people feel a certain way and have those conversations together in an open environment.”
As someone who’ll admit they like to be in control, it’s perhaps surprising that the best piece of advice Natalie’s been given is to push herself beyond her comfort zone. “I once got told that you've got to feel uncomfortable and a bit out of control when learning. I like to learn, and I like to be stretched, but feeling a bit out of control does make me feel a quite nervous. The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to push past that. Being out of your comfort zone, whether that’s an unexpected career path, a difficult conversation or acknowledging your own unconscious biases, that’s when you have the biggest opportunities to learn and grow.”
We are a global business and as such it is paramount to us that the differences we see in the world around us are reflected in our workplace
Across the world, our engineers are pioneering the latest technologies in environments where safety and efficiency are absolute priorities