BP plc is expanding a program to lure experienced professionals back into the workforce for full-time and project-based roles.
Initially a Chicago-based program that BP piloted in 2017 with Chicago-based start-up The Mom Project, the recently re-booted BP Returnship Program targets women and men who stepped out of the workforce for family or personal reasons and wish to return to work. BP contends that the paid six- to nine-month full-time internship program offers the company access to a broader set of potential employees whose outlook and backgrounds may differ from those in their typical interview talent pool.
“The BP Returnship Program is an extensive, structured program comprised of a curated track across various work teams that focuses on a series of project-based assignments to provide returning professionals with robust, comprehensive learning experiences,” said Christine Taktajian, BP recruiting lead.
BP is currently offering its Returnship Program to nine individuals in its refining, U.S. pipeline and logistics, refining technology and engineering, marketing, sales and finance units in Chicago and Naperville, Ill., Whiting, Ind. and La Palma, Calif. The Mom Project continues to support the initiative by structuring the program and sourcing candidates.
“We found great success partnering with The Mom Project for our first contingent in The BP Returnship Program,” noted Brian Zellner, a BP human resources manager who developed the initiative with Taktajian. “The launch program served as a basis for our company to find new and unique talent, with our goal to increase diverse thought and talent among our workforce. With the second team, we hope to expand the program further within BP and continue to serve as a leader in diversity and inclusion in the oil/gas industry.”
Taktajian told Rigzone that the initiative addresses changes taking place in the workforce.
“We created the program at BP because we realized that in today’s competitive market, a growing number of professionals no longer have the traditional cookie-cutter career paths,” she noted. “Both men and women are taking mid-career breaks for a number of personal reasons and we wanted our hiring process to be innovative and reflect these changes.”
Taktajian pointed out that the Returnship Program has yielded positive results for the company as well as individual participants.
“The program not only opens doors for BP to attract diverse and often hard-to-find mid-level candidates, but it also provides candidates an opportunity to explore a new work environment and test whether returning to work is a viable option at this time in their lives,” she said.