More than 250 students in the US, UK and Canada will begin internships with bp this summer, but with a difference.
Every year, bp invites university students to apply for our paid business, engineering and science internships. During the summer programme, they get hands-on experience that enables them to develop their skills and gives them a taster of what it’s like to work on real projects and deliver real results.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant an end to internships for many companies around the world. In the US alone, internship opportunities have dropped 52%, according to recent research by jobs site Glassdoor. However, Amy Patton and Sinéad Ryan, leaders in bp’s early careers talent acquisition team, were determined that this summer’s internships would continue, albeit at a distance.
The pair and their teams have developed an online programme, which is already under way in India and Singapore, and other regions are set to follow suit later this year.
Amy Patton, left, and Sinéad Ryan, leaders in bp’s early careers talent acquisition team, who formulated the online programme
For Patton, cancelling the internships just wasn’t an option. “The importance of early careers internships can’t be overstated,” she says. “We’re reinventing bp; our business needs new, diverse talent with fresh ideas and different perspectives, and these early-career professionals really are the talent pipeline of our future.”
And it works both ways. Internships can be a stepping stone to full-time work, an important source of income and, in some cases, even a graduation requirement, so the retention of bp’s programme has come as a welcome relief for those with placements this year.
Amy Patton, Americas early careers talent acquisition manager
“Interns were due to start in May,” says Patton, who heads the US team, “and I knew we would not likely be in an office environment at that time. So, we started engaging the business on the viability of shifting the intern programme from physical to virtual.”
“Internships are a through route to our graduate programmes,” says Ryan, Patton’s counterpart in the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions, “so it’s vital our interns have an outstanding experience with us, one that develops their skills and provides insight into bp.”
Kevin Fruth, who began his internship at Whiting refinery and finished it working remotely from home
A portal, designed specifically for the interns, contains a series of online events where they can grow their knowledge of bp, build networks with colleagues and other interns, and get to know their ‘intern buddies’ and ‘intern families’, who will keep connected with them as they progress through their assignment.
The portal also contains links to a vast number of resources and allows direct access to bp’s internal training modules.
One intern who recently experienced a beta version of this new model is project engineer Kevin Fruth. “One word to describe my time with bp would be… ‘memorable!’” says Fruth. “From working at the Whiting refinery to then working remotely certainly made it more challenging, but I still had a great learning experience and I continued to develop solid connections with my co-workers and fellow interns.”