Larissa, a Torres Strait Islander student in her second year of a Bachelor of Business degree in Supply Chain Management at Central Queensland University, recently finished a 12-week placement with Shell. She shares her story.
Thanks to a programme called CareerTrackers, a non-profit organisation that creates private sector internship opportunities for indigenous university students and provides a wide spectrum of support to help prepare students for leadership in the workplace and the community, Larissa could make her mark in Shell.
“I was looking for an internship with an oil and gas company because my father has been in the mining industry his entire life and I have always viewed this as a secure industry. Working with CareerTrackers has made the internship experience so much easier, and they have provided me with support throughout my internship.
As a CareerTrackers intern I had to go through the same process as any other intern but I had the added bonus of a student advisor who assisted me with workplace facilitation and weekly support on any challenges or issues that interns may come across. It was like having my own HR person,” she said.
“My internship placement was in Shell’s Logistics team and looking back on the experience, I think I learned much more than I could have anticipated. My job included a lot of work with SharePoint and a variety of mobile applications. I also helped with the Logistics team’s weekly report, moving it to a SharePoint platform and helping the team to prioritise tasks. I thoroughly enjoyed the role and felt challenged by the multiple projects I was involved in. Once something was finished, I was able to pick up something else – the opportunity to learn something new was never-ending.”
For Larissa, the most enjoyable experience was the chance to grow as a person and prove herself. “I was tasked with taking an existing idea and work practice and creating something that would be more efficient and better designed to ensure take-up and continual use by the team. I suggested the new way of doing the weekly report and it was rewarding to see that the team embraced it,” she said.
“I also had weekly meetings with my direct manager, Franz Sommer, who mentored me and offered constructive feedback to assist with my development. Thanks to him, I’ve learnt to try different approaches. The rest of the team was equally supportive, answering all my questions and helping me to learn more about Shell as a company.
“The Logistics team is so culturally diverse and having the opportunity to work alongside colleagues from different cultures means you can grow within yourself, too. I felt welcomed by everyone and was blown away by how well the company operates and how efficiently people work.
“I also had the opportunity to do a presentation for my team and a few HR team members about Torres Strait Islanders and Indigenous People. It allowed me to provide more background about myself and my life experiences. Overall, the presentation was a great way for people to better understand Indigenous Australians and how they wish to break negative stereotypes and be successful in the private sector,” she added.