Lindsey Gordon

Lindsey Gordon

Petroleum Engineer

BP

Lindsey Gordon has only worked in the industry for a few years but already her career has seen her work at several locations at home and abroad.

Lindsey graduated in mechanical engineering from the University of Nottingham before joining the graduate programme at BP, where she’d already spent time on an internship.

She has gone on to become a production engineer with the operator, and her growing portfolio of experience includes work in the Foinaven and Clair fields in the harsh conditions West of Shetland.

I initially thought about studying politics at university. However, someone convinced me that, because I was good at maths, I should think about engineering. It was good advice because it presented an opportunity that not everyone could take.

“When I was interviewed I felt they were looking to understand me as a person, not just as an engineer.”

During my studies, the other students were predominantly male; by the time we were doing our masters degree there were 100 of us and only five were girls. It’s not something that really bothered me. I played sport at university, so I had lots of female friends from there. You always end up being friends with the other girls on your course as well, because there are so few of you; in the end you just make it work.

My graduate programme at BP was a very positive experience. The programme is well established and there have been quite a few young women on it. Other staff are well used to seeing young people coming in to learn – it’s a positive, open culture.

A lot of effort goes into the programme. When senior company people come to the office, graduates get the opportunity to engage with them.

I’ve always felt well supported but I haven’t had a formal mentor; I’ve never really pushed to have one. However, I can always call on my mum for advice –
I’m very lucky in that respect!

I’d never really think: ‘Is this a good job for a woman?’. Instead I’d just ask: ‘Is this a good job?’. For younger people in particular, the oil and gas industry has come so far in recent years that it simply isn’t an issue any more to have women working in engineering roles.

“We’re part and parcel of the industry nowadays – for me it’s an opportunity to have adventures.”

You can lay the groundwork for success. If you’re still at school, look for work experience opportunities during the summer holidays. And once you’re a student, keep that mindset; I secured an eight-week work placement with an
industry operator after my second year at university.

If you’re keen on working for a particular company, identify their target universities and make it your goal to get a place there.

You need to stand out in the crowd. When I was interviewed I felt they were looking to understand me as a person, not just as an engineer. I’d already travelled a lot, I played football at university and became the club president, I’ve climbed Kilimanjaro and done other fundraising things. Things like that make a difference when it comes to landing the job you want.

Where educated: International School of Stavanger, Nottingham University.
Advice to your 15-year-old self?Hang in there – you’re doing great!
A moment of inspiration?The sheer scale of what we do is inspiring – I sometimes can’t get my head around it. As an intern, I worked on BP’s Shah Deniz 2, which was said to be the biggest project in the world. To work on such projects – and see them develop – is just immense.