Welcoming the first of our Black interns

14 Jul 2022
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Four of our Black interns with the 10,000 Black Interns logo

L-R: Margaret Ajiboye, Jeptha Asamoah, Ibrahim Zubair, Emmanuel Assah

We’re proud to be supporting and participating in the 10,000 Black Interns programme, which is designed to improve the diversity of the UK’s professional industries by offering paid internships to Black people over five years.

As the first of our cohort prepare to depart after their six-week placement, they share their experience of working with us, what they’ve learned while being here, and why the 10,000 Black Interns programme is so important.

Emmanuel (Commercial team)

My main interest in applying to the 10,000 Black Interns programme was originally due to my intrigue around the fact that the companies that were searching were specifically looking for Black interns. I immediately knew then that any company that partnered with the 10,000 Black Interns programme would be a company that I would be delighted like to work for.

There are a lot of organisations that claim to be inclusive and claim to represent all peoples but there aren’t many that take initiative to do something about it, let alone give an opportunity to people of colour. Thankfully, SGN is an example of one of those companies that are part of the change.

I consider myself to be quite reserved in new environments, but everyone has certainly drawn me out of my shell, and I grow comfortable here more and more day by day. I was assigned to a project regarding the future of SGN’s gas mains, both abandoned and live ones, and although challenging, it has been an eye opener into the processes, terminology and regulation aspects that people outside of the organisation never get to see.

Being involved in such a task has made me feel more confident in my abilities and has even made me consider taking up project management as one of my optional modules when I return to university for my final year.

The level of trust that is entrusted to interns such as myself shows the kind of company that SGN are: one that trusts and invests in their employees and I for one am happy to be a part of it.

Margaret (Network)

The programme inspired me because of its objective of addressing the underrepresentation of Black employees and diverse talent in British businesses. Diversity is incredibly important for innovation and this programme takes the initiative to increase representation by giving the opportunity for development early on in one’s career.

During my time here, I’ve worked on CISBOT projects from concept with Network Strategy for my first three weeks. CISBOT is an innovative invention – a robot used to repair joints in gas pipes.  My responsibilities included identification of potential projects, creating shapefiles with GIS software, inputting data into Excel spreadsheets and composing presentations.

My last three weeks have been spent with Network Planning. I continued working on the CISBOT project by exporting the potential project maps, using Adobe to annotate and prepare the maps for the Operations team (where delivery of the project occurs) and costing the different projects. I also attended budget meetings and briefings on reports and other ongoing projects which broadened my knowledge of SGN as a business.

I was asked to write down my expectations for the internship in the first week and reflect in my sixth week on if they had been met. My expectations revolved around contributing effectively to projects and seeing them through from concept, developing transferable skills and understanding the gas industry.

I do feel that I achieved these aims, and this experience changed me for the better.

Jeptha (HR)

Gaining work experience was one of the most important things to me. Black students, especially Black students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing like me, are already faced with additional barriers due to systemic racism and audism within the corporate world, regardless of their education levels.

My experience at SGN working within the HR department has been brilliant. The department consists of different teams, some people who focus on Systems, some people specialising in payroll, and others focusing on recruitment. My role has consisted of shadowing HR managers, analysing HR systems, and researching on attracting a diverse pool of candidates and how SGN can make their recruitment process becoming more inclusive.

10,000 Black Interns is a great scheme for young Black students to build work experience within our chosen fields. Not only this, it allows us to explore different sectors and has given me the opportunity to get an idea of what it is like to be working within the gas sector. 

Ibrahim (Legal)

I’ve always had a long-standing interest in energy. My parents work in power (electricity) and oil and gas industries in Nigeria so that served to boost my curiosity on the area. Most people start their training in the legal field at law firms, but I wanted to have a different experience to help me decide what route I would take in the future.

Since I already knew where I wanted to specialise, joining the legal department at a big gas company like SGN was the perfect fit. I would be able to get an insight into how things were done from an in-house lawyers’ perspective, which would serve to broaden my knowledge of the industry and give me an introduction of what is to come in my career. 

The practical insight I’ve had has been amazing. I was given the opportunity to see actual legal documents, such as easements and deeds, that I had read about so much throughout my degree. I’ve been able to listen in on company-wide conversations and real-life issues. I had the opportunity to meet with partners from firms like CMS & Osbourne Clarke, which is something you don’t do every day.

The enthusiasm of everyone I have met during my time here stood out to me, everyone has been very helpful and eager to discuss everything with me – it made my experience so much better, so I really appreciate the efforts of everyone involved.