BP Graduate Profile: HR Advisor
When people think about careers in the energy industry, they probably think of engineers first and foremost. Therefore, the energy industry isn’t always first of mind for graduates who haven’t studiedsubjects at school or university.
While engineers do of course make up a large and important part of the workforce of these companies, there are actually a huge variety of alternative careers at energy companies like BP. All large companies need accountants, lawyers, HR professionals and IT experts – to name a few – and graduates from all types of academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply.
We interviewed three recent graduates who are working in a variety of roles at BP, to find out how they got into the industry and why they think it’s a great place for other grads to work.
HR Advisor: James Rimen
James joined the HR stream of the BP Graduate Programme, following his passion for working with people, building relationships, and the value of human resources in business.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m passionate about pushing myself and I’m quite sporty, which means I’m good at motivating myself to focus on specific goals. This translates well into my work life. I’m very sociable, so I enjoy working closely with people.
How did you get into HR?
My family were very influential. My dad worked in engineering and always had a business brain. As a child, I remember him talking to me about his business and the economy, which first sparked my interest. As a result, I studied Economics at the University of Sheffield. I’ve always been intrigued by human behaviour. Economics assumes individuals act rationally and builds models around this. behaviour. But, in reality humans are not always rational and our actions are also driven by our emotions. I wanted to combine the rational side of economics with the psychology of why people react differently in situations. HR looks at combining business needs with individual drivers to achieve the best outcome, so it seemed like a good fit!
Tell us about your current role
I’m on the HR Stream of the BP graduate programme. I joined in September 2015 and I’m currently on my second rotation of the programme, working as an HR Advisor, supporting the Operations team in Petrochemicals.
I’m currently based on site at the producing plant in Hull. I previously worked in offices, but for this rotation I wanted to get closer to the field and understand how the technicians operate and interact with central BP. I’m loving it so far! I’ve had the chance to roll my sleeves up and assist people on the ground. Compared to working in an office, the environment is more challenging, but I’m getting core HR experience, supporting individuals through performance improvement plans, and conducting investigations into on-site incidents.
Working in HR can be a mix of positive and sometimes difficult interactions, but by managing relationships effectively, you can have open and honest discussions to find the best outcome for most situations.
Why did you choose BP?
After graduating, I started working in recruitment and took on some HR responsibilities. I enjoyed the role, but didn’t see a path for my development at that company. So, I looked at the job market and what other opportunities were out there.
I looked for employers in interesting industries that had similar values to my own. I applied to HR roles at professional services firms and investment banks, but BP stood out to me over other employers. BP offered a rotational scheme, which would enable me to gain a real insight into each business area.
Company culture is also very important to me. BP is a great place to work, which came across instantly when I met my two interviewers. BP seemed like a place I would be happy and successful.
What is it like working in such a big organisation?
BP is a very collaborative environment. There is open communication, regardless of your level in the firm; any individual can be heard by anyone. Graduates are given the opportunity to work on high-profile projects, which is great because it provides lots of learning opportunities. The graduate scheme itself offers accelerated development with plenty of support.
The people I work with inspire me. You learn a lot very quickly from your colleagues around you. You observe a lot of skills and styles of working that you can implement yourself. There are a variety of leadership styles within the business and I have enjoyed figuring out which style works best for me. I’ve had a number of line managers, who have been very different, but they have all inspired me to push myself with their experience and passion.
What would you say to someone looking to apply for a grad scheme?
I would say be passionate and focus on your transferable skills! I’ve recently been back to my old school to talk to students about university life and how to start building skills to be successful both in university and in the workplace! I worry that students are encouraged to focus on academia, and aren’t taught the life skills they need for surviving and thriving in business.
Thank you James
Watch this space for our interviews with Hadi (Software Engineer) and Khalida (Strategy Analyst).
For more information on graduate opportunities at BP click here.