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Shell Step Initiative

Warwick MORSE student Ben Ellis undertook the Shell Step scheme last summer – a nationwide, project-based work placement programme. Here, he recounts his experience of the scheme:

Have you spent countless hours of your penultimate year filling in tedious application forms and travelling to and from interviews? “What for?” you might ask. Like many others, you might believe that a formal internship is the only summer work that will impress on graduate job application forms.

Unfortunately, competition for these internships is fierce and I, like many others, was unable to get one in my chosen field. Whilst wondering what to do with myself over the long summer holidays, I was pointed in the direction of the Shell Step Initiative. This scheme aims to match up penultimate year students with companies that need interns to help with projects.

The pay is generous, and you are a given a chance to enter a nationally recognised awards ceremony. The small size of the companies means that you are really valued by the company, and are given an excellent chance to make an impression and a difference to your chosen project. Opportunities range from improving theme park efficiency to testing jet engines!

My own experience was extremely positive. I worked for a company called Backup Direct in Bath. They needed their website redesigning, and were looking for a work experience student to help manage the project from start to finish. The internship helped develop my problem solving, conflict management, and time management skills. Most importantly, I had a great time and gained valuable work experience, which I was believe was an important factor in securing a graduate job.

Overall, I’d thoroughly recommend the Shell Step as a fun, exciting, worthwhile alternative to a formal internship, and an excellent way to spend a summer holiday!

To find out more about the initiative and see an example of the type of company you might be working for, go to: