For the past 10 years, bp’s International Centre for Business and Technology (ICBT) in Sunbury has offered local students from the Surrey and Hounslow area a chance to complete work experience placements across bp’s core business areas, notably in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) disciplines.
The work experience programme is one of bp’s key education initiatives providing students an insight into the world of work whilst allowing them to see practical applications of STEM in the work place. In addition to this, it is a great way to spark an interest in STEM and encourage the next generation to consider a career in this area.
bp was nominated for the award by John Cadogan, vice principal, Logic Studio School. bp has supported Logic school in partnership with Career Ready, a national charity that links schools with businesses, to help bridge the gap between education and the world of work. The Career Ready programme gives young people access to real experience, through a personal mentor, an internship, masterclasses and workplace visits.
bp has supported the programme at the Logic Studioschool for the past 10 years, providing inspirational mentors and hosting students for paid internships in the summer. In that time over 80 bp mentors have supported the school and over 50 internships have been hosted at the ICBT impacting around 100 students.
John says that “the internship experiences have been life-changing for my students. They left bp with new-found levels of confidence, raised self-belief and more importantly with a higher level of aspiration”.
According to John, “The bp Career Ready programme is second to none and we at the Logic Studio School are fully indebted to Mas and to bp for affording our students life-changing experiences and for improving their life chances.”
Mas has been managing bp’s volunteering programme, in Sunbury for the past two years. He is responsible for arranging placements for over 180 students over the school summer break as well as a variety of other volunteering programmes. This year bp had their largest ever intake of work experience students, with 194 places offered to students from local 71 schools. The students were supported by around 100 volunteers across a number of business areas including engineering, geology, HR, IT and finance.
During their internships with bp the students are set business based projects by their hosts and each student delivers a formal presentation to their host team before they leave. To ensure the students get the most out of their placement Mas also coordinates group sessions with a variety of topics such as how bp identifies prospective sites for oil or gas exploration, a day in the life of an engineer or scientist as well as support with CV’s and job interviews.
The students are also given a tour of the site, which this year celebrated its 100th birthday, to experience first-hand bp’s world-class training facilities such as the Upstream learning centre and the igloo simulator used for training field technicians.
Currently the UK faces a chronic shortage of talented STEM graduates, which could leave the country ill-equipped with the skills it needs to meet future plans for growth. Addressing the gap in STEM is particularly important in the energy industry. bp hopes that these programmes will help to inspire young people to continue their studies in STEM subjects and gives them a broader understanding of the wide range of careers that a company like bp can offer.
Spark!, is a charity that works with educational institutes and business to prepare young people for working life and enhance their employability through practical, accredited and inspiring work-related experiences. The vision of the charity is a society in which people are work ready, mobile and equipped to make a significant difference to the economy, their lives and community.