The aim of the internships is to connect local students with inspirational role models to help broaden their horizons and to increase their aspirations. Career Ready students are usually from disadvantaged backgrounds and often lack the networks, confidence or role models of their more advantaged peers.
The paid internships are designed to give the students a greater understanding of what it’s like to work in a corporate environment and can support them while they explore the incredible possibilities that are available in the job market.
The students are assigned to one of our businesses, either in Downstream, Upstream or Integrated supply and trading (IST). They then work in small teams, over a period of six weeks, on a range of exciting projects. The projects are all real-life scenarios. The interns could find themselves producing and editing a health and safety video or even helping to evaluate bids for a future contract.
The interns are provided with high-quality training to support them in their new roles as well as ongoing mentoring. For many of the students this will be their first job, so the on-the-job training and coaching they receive is invaluable in helping them to understand workplace practices, learn transferable communication skills and discover the importance of teamwork. The skills they gain should really help them progress in their future career.
During their internship, pupils are expected to add value to the company, by putting into practice what they have learned on the scheme.
Supervisor Laura Steedman discovered the benefit of having a fresh pairs of eyes on her project. Laura’s intern, Jeswin, worked with BP’s North Sea team on a project to improve platform efficiency and to optimize production. In particular, the team was looking at improving the efficiency of a pump.
Laura said: “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 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.”
As well as having the opportunity to take part in an internship, each student is assigned a business mentor for a 12-month period to support them. The interns meet their mentors before they start their placement and they continue to receive support well after they finish.
Throughout the year BP’s mentors act as the students’ guides. They use their own experiences and knowledge to help their mentees develop the skills and confidence they need in the workplace.
For the internship supervisors and mentors, it is a great opportunity to develop their own key skills in coaching and leadership, while supporting the professional and personal development of young people. It’s also a great opportunity to give back to the local community, and offers a chance for them to positively influence a young person at the very start of their career.
Career Ready is a national charity that links schools with businesses to help bridge the gap between education and the world of work. It helps to prepare less advantaged students for the world of work by giving them access to real-life work experience, through a personal mentor, an internship, masterclasses and workplace visits.
BP has supported the programme for the past 12 years, and this year we have taken on the largest intake ever. It’s a true testament of the commitment of BP employees to their local community.
Find out more about BP in the community.