Joining an Organisation in a Pandemic - A Graduate Process Safety Consultant's Perspective

Ryan Henderson

Starting a graduate scheme or new job is a daunting prospect at any time, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic. I was fortunate that the application and recruiting process for the ESR Technology graduate scheme had concluded in early March 2020, and I received a job offer shortly before the initial Covid-19 lockdown to work out of their Aberdeen office. My final month of university lectures became remote, as did my previous part-time job, and after graduating at the end of May I could now look forward to taking my first steps along my chosen career path later that Summer.

Chris Proud, ESR’s Technical Lead in Aberdeen: “ESR tend to recruit a number of graduates each year and we look to do this early on in the year so that the candidates can start work during the summer following conclusion of their degree course. 2020 started out no different from any other, although it panned out quite different as we all know. From the outset, we were keen to continue with our commitment to bring in Ryan towards the end of the summer. The time between the selection process concluding and Ryan starting in late summer allowed things to settle down into the “new normal” and gave us space to think about how to onboard Ryan effectively. Key considerations were: establishing links within the business, particularly with our other office locations; integrating Ryan within the Aberdeen team; supporting Ryan with HR aspects, project work, etc.; and, importantly, making sure Ryan felt welcome.”

Once it had been agreed that I would officially come onboard in early September, I finally had a start date to look forward to. After conversations with Chris, it was decided that a single day per week in our Aberdeen office, while working remotely the remainder of the week, would allow us to follow government guidance at the time, and also aid my induction into the company. This was beneficial, however due to my previous experience of remote working earlier in the year, I felt that I adapted to the remote aspect of the new job well.

After three weeks the early signs of the pandemic’s second wave began to show, and we switched to fully remote working, with twice weekly Aberdeen team video calls at either end of the week and plenty of other calls in between. There have been times when this has been tough, however I’ve found that communicating and asking for help is more important than ever during remote working. It can seem daunting to call a project manager over the smallest ‘trivial’ aspect of a piece of work, much harder than simply talking across the office, but it is vital to do so to avoid becoming bogged down in the work. My colleagues at ESR have been extremely supportive on this. I am looking forward to a return to office working (at least partially) in the coming months.

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