Sarah Bevilacqua knew what she wanted in an internship program.
“My priorities included robust intern projects, strong mentorship programs, an appealing work environment and professional, structured development,” says the Chemical Engineering graduate from Queen’s University.
“It was also important that the company have a strong reputation and high-quality training.”
Sarah found what she was looking for in Shell’s Assessed Internship Program, which gives interns the opportunity to work with Shell’s experts: an unparalleled learning experience backed with hands-on support and mentorship.
“I was attracted to Shell’s Assessed Internship Program, which allowed me to work on a specific and meaningful project while being encouraged to develop myself professionally,” she says. “The program was also recommended by several of my peers who had completed the program and had very positive feedback to offer.”
“I admire Shell’s global reputation and knew the training and development I would receive would be world class.”
Sarah entered Shell’s Assessed Internship Program in the summer of 2013 – taking the first step towards a career at Shell.
To help Sarah adjust smoothly from the classroom to the workplace, Shell ensured she had access to a diverse range of training and learning opportunities when she joined the Assessed Internship Program.
“I came into the program without background knowledge of the oil and gas industry,” she explains. “Shell helped me learn about the upstream business and equipped me with knowledge about the safety culture at Shell.”
Building that knowledge meant connecting with Shell’s employee networks for professional seminars, as well as hands-on visits to different Shell sites to learn about equipment and operations.
“Shell’s Assessed Internship Program was an opportunity to showcase what I could deliver, as well as cultivate new skills.”Sarah Bevilacqua
Operations Support Engineer-in-Training
“I was able to have face-to-face discussions with professional engineers who helped me learn the different software applications that I needed to use in my daily monitoring of the wells for my project,” explains Sarah.
This emphasis on building an array of skills would play a big role in Sarah’s success.
Inside the Assessed Internship Program
Once at work in the Assessed Internship Program, Sarah found herself adding to the knowledge base she had acquired, both through her own project work and in collaboration with other Shell team members.
“My main focus was my internship project, but I also played a supporting role for the production team, where I was responsible for monitoring, pump failure analysis, optimization and submission of work orders and requests,” she says.
In addition to developing her industry knowledge, Sarah had the chance to improve some key soft skills as well.
“I learned how important it is to build relationships as I was able to gain valuable insight and knowledge from professional engineers,” she says. “My time management skills were also improved, as my internship project was very self-driven.”
Participants in Shell’s Assessed Internship Program are empowered to make a real contribution, and can have a meaningful impact on Shell’s operations. It was this emphasis on individual motivation that made Sarah’s time in the program so rewarding.
“I did receive guidance from my supervisor, mentor and other Shell people, but the program challenged me to spearhead the project and really take the initiative to make it happen,” she says.
“I really enjoyed the work because my project findings could be applied to other Shell assets and future developments.”
A career transition
Sarah learned a lot during the four months she spent in Shell’s Assessed Internship Program, and returned to Queen’s for the final year of her degree.
While completing her studies, Sarah was offered and accepted a position with Shell at the Shell Manufacturing Centre in Sarnia, Ontario.
Today, she’s an Operations Support Engineer-in-Training (EIT), working as the main contact for several catalytic reforming units used in Shell’s operations.
“My favourite thing about my current role is the hands-on responsibility,” she says. “It’s a lot of fun to be able to work with all the equipment you talked about in class for 4 years.”
Sarah ensures proper equipment operation and maintenance, as well as exploring and incorporating new technologies into existing operations and taking part in equipment shutdowns and turnarounds.
Her work puts her in touch with a broad range of industry professionals, including other engineers, equipment operators, inspectors and external contractors.
“Even though it’s busy, it’s also a dynamic environment and I am always learning,” Sarah says.
“My four-month internship gave me the opportunity to understand how much Shell invests in their new talent,” she explains. “I was also able to learn about the training and different roles that you get exposed to in the Shell Graduate Program.”
“My positive internship experience confirmed my desire to work within the oil and gas industry and also with Shell,” she says.
Sarah’s career at Shell
Now that she’s moved into a first career role at Shell, Sarah is already looking ahead to the future.
“I have some big ambitions for my future at Shell,” she says. “My goal is to work internationally and I feel the Shell Graduate Program is providing me with the learning and development I need to make me eligible for this opportunity.”
Sarah’s operations role will equip her with technical skills that are a good foundation for a future management position. Shell also connects new hires and interns with a mentor who can provide valuable career insight and guidance – another way Sarah is supported as she builds her career.
“The program helped me to confirm my ambition to work for Shell full-time and become part of the Shell Graduate Program,” she says.
“Shell’s Assessed Internship Program is a great opportunity to work and learn with an industry leader and a community of talented professionals.”