Turning ‘can do’ into ‘how to’ and then ‘can do more’

Case Study: Paul Young - Shell


Young graduates often struggle to find the right job. Unless they’ve taken a degree that is vocational, it’s usually a case of ‘well, what can I do now?’

International energy company Shell has an interesting approach to its graduate recruitment. They look for capacity, achievement, and relationship values and behaviours to help them assess whether a candidate is a perfect fit for a role.  

Paul Young first graduated from St Andrews University with a Masters of Arts (MA) first class honours in Geography in 2014, before spending another year at Lancaster University where he gained an MA in Environmental Management and Consultancy, with distinction.

"I applied to Shell as I had a passion to make a difference in the energy industry. My Environmental degree pushed me towards environmental roles but Shell saw that I had the potential to become a rounded HSE advisor due to my soft skills and influencing qualities”

I had limited knowledge of health and safety, so as part of my continuous development as an operational safety graduate Shell signed me up for the NEBOSH International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety.”

Taking the international version of the Diploma makes sense at Shell. The energy industry is global in nature and Shell employs 82,000 people in more than 70 different countries. So having someone well-versed in international standards is important to them.

Paul, completed his Diploma and has been with Shell for almost 4 years now. He is based at the company’s St Fergus Gas Terminal in Scotland and is looking forward to further developing his career within Shell.

“The knowledge I’ve gained from the NEBOSH Diploma has been invaluable,” said Paul.  “Studying and then having the opportunity to apply everything on site was such an advantage and the practical element just helps to verify everything. And there’s more to having the Diploma of course.”

It gives you credibility, grows your confidence and it’s also helped me think differently about health and safety. I’m really keen on championing safety and making it more engaging through creative methods and various communications styles, for example.” 

Paul is now keen to obtain Chartered status and is also thinking of taking an engineering or business degree. He believes it could further extend his competence as a health and safety practitioner and make him a future industry leader.

So the future looks bright for Paul. He describes Shell as “an excellent place to work” who “see the potential in people” and at just 27 years of age he is already showing he has the kind of hard and soft skills needed to become a highly competent HSE leader.

  • International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety