BP workshops aim to help female undergraduates fulfil their potential

BP has hosted a series of events aimed at helping female engineering students gain the practical skills and the confidence needed to pursue the career of their choice.

Entitled Be Inspired, a series of three events took place across the UK developed to help attendees begin considering their transition from the world of education into the workplace. 

“This is a vital and often daunting stage in a graduates’ career,” says Suzy Style, BP’s head of graduate resourcing. “We believe this is a great way for students to get insights into what potential employers are looking for and to get some insider tips into how to present themselves.”

Alongside presentations from BP professionals, the days included a networking session, a Q&A with a panel of BP employees and two workshops.

The first, called Building Your Personal Brand, covered points such as online presence, differentiation and confidence, helping the young women to start thinking about how they wish to be perceived.

“One area that we considered is social media, which plays a pivotal role in many students’ lives, but can be both a risk and an opportunity for their employability,” Style says. “It is vital that students are aware of how to use social media to the benefit of their career, while protecting themselves from some of the potential pitfalls of today’s digitally connected world. Being aware of your online ‘brand’ and knowing how to best use channels, such as LinkedIn or Twitter, to benefit rather than disrupt your career is vitally important. 

“The event provided attendees with a chance to take a closer look at their personal brand,” she continues. “They got expert advice on how to project themselves; now and throughout their professional life, whether that is on social media, at a networking event or during a job interview. There was also a professional photographer at each event, taking headshot photos of each of the students for them to use on their LinkedIn profile.”

The second workshop was entitled Networking 101 and looked at the importance of networking, communicating with confidence and successful networking strategies.

During the Q&A portion of the event the students heard first-hand advice on developing a career at an organisation like BP and specific insights into what it’s like to work at the company.  

“People were also interested in why the panel had chosen to work in the energy sector and insights into how they had found entering the workforce as graduates,” Style notes. “The programme of speakers and workshops has been specifically designed to help the attendees to begin uncovering some of their personal strengths, while gaining practical skills that will help them continue finding their confidence as they pursue their career.”

Feedback from the student attendees was positive, with many leaving inspired and motivated and several now interested in joining the organisation upon graduation.

“I think events like this are important as there are a lot of females especially university students who are afraid to be confident or speak up but have the necessary strengths and skills to make a difference in this industry,” says Grace Adesanya, an Aston University chemical engineering student.

“It was very empowering speaking and interacting with BP female employees in management roles who are able to do what they love without being restricted by their gender."

“I never really thought of how my daily life skills and strengths can help with my career and the workshops helped me in that aspect. I've learnt to be more myself and not the image people want me to be,” adds Joelle Tham, currently studying mechanical engineering at Cardiff University.

“At BP we are committed to developing a diverse workforce and we therefore believe that events such as these are essential for helping female students to begin addressing some potential career constraints so that they are better placed to achieve their full potential,” Style says.

“Recruiting top talent doesn’t start upon graduation, it begins much earlier and events such as the Be Inspired series are a great way to begin engaging with female engineers.”

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