Jessica Polkinghorne

How did your 12 week assessed internship with Shell give you an insight into Shell as an organisation, the culture, projects and type of work ?

The internship showed me how Shell works, both locally in Australia, and internationally; as well as what it takes to become a part of Shell. I was involved from day one and my project was specifically designed to add value to the business. Shell has a strong culture and is a great place to work. Everyone is accepted for who they are; it’s is such a diverse and inclusive organisation.

What type of work did you do during your internship; did you have a specific project?

My internship at Shell involved a placement in the Wells team. I had the opportunity to work on the Emergency Response plan, which would be executed in the event of a subsea well blowout. Specifically, I looked at a large piece of equipment called a ‘Capping Stack’, which is placed on top of the wellhead and is shut-in to stop the continuous flow of hydrocarbons from the wellhead to surface.

It was a very interesting project to work on, and most of my stakeholders were overseas which required many conference calls and meetings to understand and discuss solutions. This was a bonus, as I had the opportunity to build and work with international network of stakeholders, which also meant that I had the opportunity to improve my communication and organisational skills.

How would you describe your experience of the Shell internship? What would you say to students thinking about an internship with Shell?

My internship was a challenging and very rewarding experience. I improved my communication, team-building, problem-solving and analytical skills and thoroughly enjoyed working amongst a very diverse, on the go and knowledgeable team. My project required a lot of determination and persistence to reach the various milestones. Successfully achieving these and delivering a well-rounded and insightful project was very fulfilling and definitely the highlight of my internship. To other students thinking about applying, take the opportunity and give it your best shot!

How did your assessed internship prepare you for your career and how did it feel knowing you had secured a graduate position well before your graduation date?

I gained exposure to the energy industry and the concept of working in a global professional organisation, which is something I had not previously experienced. I had the opportunity to engage and network with a variety of people in the organisation and learn from very talented and inspiring individuals; this created a foundation for confidence and the willingness to learn in my career.

Having secured a graduate position prior to completing university was a fantastic feeling, as I knew all my hard work had paid off and I could focus entirely on my final year of studies and plan a holiday before starting work!

Having had the opportunity to experience Shell through an internship, do you think this provided you with an advantage when starting the graduate programme?

Definitely! Upon starting my graduate program, I knew a lot of people in the organisation already, who are not only colleagues but also friends of mine, and I already knew what to expect with regard to the dynamics of Shell and how the organisation runs on a day-to-day basis.

Describe what makes Shell’s Assessed Internship programme unique?

The internship gives you a sense of responsibility in a global organisation from day one. Your work is challenging and you are given accountability to deliver innovative and viable solutions to add value to the business. You gain industry exposure that is world-class and have the opportunity to grow a global network of colleagues and contacts.

Why should today’s students apply for an internship with Shell?

Experiencing an internship placement with Shell gives you the opportunity to discover what Shell has to offer as an employer and also for you to see what it takes to become a part of Shell. The work you complete during your internship will add real value to the business and will give you the opportunity to work with a large number of people from various business units in Shell, which allows you to build your professional network.

What can students expect in the various stages of the assessed internship?

On commencing your internship, you will be assigned a supervisor and mentor, both of whom are there to provide you feedback and evaluate your performance throughout the 12 weeks. A review will take place mid-way through your internship to determine how you are going and provide you feedback on your performance, determine if you need any additional support and if you are on track to meet the milestones set.

At the end of your internship a final review of your time over the last 12 weeks will take place and you will also get the opportunity to prepare a final presentation about your project, summarising your work and highlighting your achievements.

Finally, an E-Tray exercise will take place which is a part of the formal assessment. It may seem like a lot, but over 12 weeks it is very achievable and believing in yourself, being confident and working hard towards achieving your goals will set you up for success.

What is some of your advice to students applying to internships, and how would you encourage them to put their best foot forward?

When applying, show that you have a varied set of strengths over both academic and non-academic areas. It is important to outline your involvement in extra-curricular activities and highlight how you balance this, with your hard work at university. Having a refined resume, along with a positive and motivated attitude towards the online assessments and staying true to yourself and your values, will give you a strong basis for success in the application process.

Any final words of advice for students considering an internship?

If you are successful in securing an internship with Shell, have the confidence to ask questions, be open to feedback and show your willingness to learn. Shell has a lot of very intelligent and knowledgeable people with very interesting experiences over their careers who are willing to share this knowledge with you. Finally, take every opportunity that is presented to you, it will promote your growth as an individual and as a professional in your working career.

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