When you’re planning to hatch your career, you need to find an employer who can help you develop key skills while providing you with the right experience.
This requires a fine balance between short-term opportunity and long-term development.
Your first position has a lot of influence on your career path, so it’s important to choose an employer with the right resources for an aspiring engineering professional.
Learning and growing
“One of my favourite things about working at Devon is the community,” says Queen’s University chemical engineering student Michelle Rea.
As a Development Engineering Intern with the Central Corridor Development Team in Calgary, Michelle examines current wells to make recommendations on how to maximize profitability.
“The development team works with all of the departments at Devon to benefit from their expertise,” she says.
Making the right recommendations might involve contacting a geologist to discuss promising areas for development, then contacting the drilling team to discuss the best way to move forward.
Michelle says that she appreciates Devon’s commitment to helping her develop new skills. The company’s attitude towards personal development was what attracted her in the first place. “When I was exploring my options, Devon seemed like a good fit because they look after their students very well and have an excellent mentorship program,” she says.
“Working at Devon changed the way I think about the industry, the company and my career.”
—Gerry Beylerian, Field Engineering Summer Student
Besides helping with Michelle’s relocation and set-up, Devon has paired her with a mentor to ensure she’s well-prepared for any challenge.
“My mentor helps teach me whatever I need to know for a particular task, assigns my work and helps me manage any concerns I have,” says Michelle.
Formal mentorship is just one part of the engaging community at Devon, she adds. The company also holds “lunch and learn” events where Devon employees from diverse fields host teaching sessions and field questions.
“These sessions are a great way to network and talk to people from other departments and see what they do,” Michelle says.
The collaborative environment is great for someone looking to expand their skills, she adds.
“I was assigned one mentor, but I feel like I have about ten.”
Hands-on in the field
Opportunities to learn and grow at Devon aren’t limited to office work.
In May 2013, Gerry Beylerian started as a Devon Field Engineering Summer Student in Fox Creek, Alberta.
A mechanical engineering student at the University of Calgary, Gerry was hoping to develop his skills with some field experience.
A friend recommended Devon. “I applied to Devon because a friend told me that her time at Devon had been a good learning experience and offered the right company policies and values for a student engineer,” Gerry says.
His role involved a lot of hands-on work, so Gerry underwent extensive training designed to bring him up to speed, including programming on safe driving, transportation of dangerous goods, first aid and more.
“I appreciated the training a lot,” he says. “It made me feel like I was being trusted with responsibility.”
On Gerry’s first day, the foreman introduced Gerry to the team and explained that other employees should make sure to involve Gerry in their various tasks so he could learn as much as possible.
“I love Devon’s company culture. It’s a friendly, employee-driven company.”
—Oscar Chen, Field Production Engineer-in-Training
In tandem with another Devon employee, Gerry travelled to different work sites each day to address maintenance and service issues. Each day came with new tasks: reprogramming equipment, replacing valves and meters, installing new antennas or batteries and more.
Gerry soon found himself getting the experience he wanted – and plenty of it. “Part of what I liked about the job was being a jack-of-all-trades,” he says. “You aren’t doing the same thing every day, you’re always doing something brand new.”
Thrilled with his summer experience, Gerry says that he hopes to explore another opportunity with Devon in the future. He’s sure that his time at Devon will be a valuable career boost.
“I’ve learned so much about design, practicality and safety,” he says. “My experience at Devon has changed my perspective as an engineer and given me the skills to succeed in any engineering environment in the future.”
A great environment
Devon’s versatile and growth-oriented workplace not only gives you the skills to succeed in the future – it’s also a great place to start a career.
Oscar Chen agrees. “Devon is a great company to work for,” he says, “and I know this because I have worked in a couple of different offices and with a wide range of people at Devon.”
“It’s fast-paced and busy, which is good because you’re never bored.”
—Michelle Rea, Development Engineering Intern
While studying mechanical engineering at the University of Saskatoon, Oscar held two positions with Devon, first as a summer student in their cold heavy oil operation in Lloydminster, Alberta and later as a Production Engineering Intern for a 16-month term in Calgary.
After graduating this June, he started work as an Engineer-in-Training in Devon’s Production Engineering department in Swan Hills, Alberta.
Like Michelle and Gerry, Oscar says an encouraging and supportive workplace culture is one of Devon’s most compelling strengths.
“Devon has a unique culture and you can see it in interactions with different people who work here,” he says. “One thing that everyone has in common is an attitude of mutual respect. Everyone I’ve worked with in the office and in the field made sure to treat students and new hires as equal team members.”
“Devon encourages you to try different roles and positions and basically learn every aspect of the business,” he says, adding that this attitude is particularly helpful for students or recent grads who don’t have a lot of workplace experience.
“School will teach you fundamental knowledge, but not very much that is industry-specific,” he says. “Devon provides the opportunities necessary to expose you to the whole scope of the oil and gas industry.”
Want to learn more about opportunities for students and recent grads at Devon? Find out where you can start your career.