By Eleanor Giddings
For my 8-week PESGB internship I have been working on organising a diversity and inclusion session at our PETEX 2018 conference.
After living in Uppsala, Sweden for a year as part of my undergraduate degree I noticed the differences in Swedish society towards equality. It was interesting to see how in every-day life the positive attitudes towards women in the workplace, the normality of fathers out together for coffee with their children and the respect Swedes had for each other regardless of background was not the same in the U.K. It opened my mind to how things could change for the better in the U.K.; a subject I had little considered before.
Maria Iredale (PESGB Executive Director) saw the problems that faced different individuals in the oil and gas industry. Those that are female, LGBT, from an ethnic minority or those with a disability often have a tougher time at progressing in the workplace. She thought PETEX 2018 would be a great place to run a session to discuss the positive changes individuals and companies/organisations in the industry could make.
This is where my position as an intern came in. For the last 8 weeks I have been speaking with different memebrs of diversity and inclusion groups, such as POWERful Women, PinkPetro and PRIDE Energy, and those in the industry that champion an inclusive culture. These individuals and groups have given me a great insight into the problems that exist in the industry, however, more importantly, they have given me a great set of skills to take away in order to promote a more inclusive workplace and culture.
The session at PETEX will consist of a panel discussion between 6 panellists. These include Dr. Sarah Peers (Women’s Engineering Society), Jay Surti (WES), Bani Norouzian (StrivE Excellence), Nicola Adams (BP), Joshua Atkins (PRIDE Energy) and Simon Fanshawe (POWERful Women and Diversity by Design). The title of the session is; ‘Embracing a new Oil and Gas: Diverse, Inclusive, Profitable’ and will discuss changes both employees and employers can make in their workplaces to promote a great place to work for everyone. The session will take place on the final day of PETEX Thursday 29 November in the afternoon. Directly afterwards there will be a ‘Fika’ (staying close to my love of all things Swedish) socialising opportunity for people to further discuss the topics covered in the session.
Working at PESGB as the PETEX Intern has been a fantastic experience. I have learnt some great new skills to take away with me into my future career; becoming a master of producing posters to promote the session; co-ordinating details for a event and enquring so much new knowledge and information about good inclusion practices have been some of the highlights. I will sorely miss cycling/running the 10km every week day to Croydon and being surrounded by the amazing PESGB office staff, who without, my internship would not have been as half as fun. Thank you very much PESGB!