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Pay it forward: being a mentor
With 33 years of experience at Shell, Symon Hoy has plenty of advice to give as a mentor. He explains how it benefits both his graduate mentee and himself, professionally and personally.
“Mentoring is so much more than just passing on advice and skills to a graduate,” Simon Hoy noted.
“It’s a working relationship that’s different to almost all others in my day-to-day job as Site Maintenance Manager at Shell’s Pearl Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) facility.”
For Symon, the mentor/mentee relationship gives so much back to the business. “Most importantly it benefits both graduate and mentor professionally and personally. After all, the driving force of any good business is good people. This is about developing and keeping those good people.”
Symon says he looks forward to mentoring meetings and discussions with Lolwa.
“I can relate to this time in her career. Although I’ve been with Shell for 33 years I understand how overwhelming a new job can be, especially as a graduate in engineering. It’s a profession that can be applied in so many ways across the oil and gas sector. There’s lots of opportunity there. However, at the outset there are also lots of career choices and lots of decisions to grapple with.
As a Shell graduate you don’t need to do it on your own.
That’s the great thing about the mentoring programme. I got so much from early advice from a number of Shell colleagues. It really helped me find the career path that worked for me. I’ve never forgotten the value of their insights. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company like this?”
As Site Maintenance Manager at Shell’s Pearl GTL facility, Symon’s engineering background is called upon each day in different ways. “As this is the world’s largest GTL facility, it’s not surprising there’s a lot of time spent ensuring our processes are synchronised. This means we take the right actions with the right information at the right time. As I’m a member of the Pearl site leadership team, I also share responsibility for a range of site leadership activities including improvement tactics, risk reviews, people development initiatives and more.”
From a graduate mentoring perspective, Symon believes Shell’s Pearl GTL facility provides a good training ground. “Pearl is a collaborative working environment. We have a matrix reporting structure, which means we regularly work up, down and sideways across functions and teams to ensure a task is completed the right way. This creates greater flexibility and inclusiveness organisationally, which is good for graduates like Lolwa.”
Symon knows Lolwa is regularly surprised and pleased, as he was, about the depth and breadth of support networks across Shell. “In addition to mentors like me, there is always someone ready to help or provide assistance. So we encourage questions. Shell is a learning organisation. We never assume we know it all either at an individual level or as a business.”
For Symon, Lolwa displays what he sees as the best qualities a candidate for the Shell Graduate Programme can have. “You of course need to be open-minded and honest. Plus you need to be able to rise to challenges and be flexible in how you respond to them. You must also be fully on board with the need to keep learning.
If that sounds like you as a graduate and where you’d like to take your career, consider Shell.”