Oil Search has successfully employed graduates since 2005, with more than 70% ultimately choosing a post-programme career with us. Enhancing our organisation capability, including employee development and retention, is a key enabling strategy for Oil Search's growth plans. In 2014, a revised version of the Oil Search Graduate Programme was launched that works to support this.

The original, two-year graduate programme relied mainly on discipline-specific, workplace training. The revised programme is more structured, three years long and offers a blend of on-the-job and workshop-based development in both personal leadership and technical disciplines.

Over the three years, graduates attend six workshops which are strongly linked to the Company's vision, values and leadership behaviours, covering topics such as critical thinking, problem solving and innovation. They are offered rotational learning opportunities and are individually mentored by an experienced manager who can provide guidance on personal leadership behaviours, be a sounding board for career planning and who can assist the graduate in building their network. While Oil Search sponsors each graduate's development, their progress is employee-driven. Graduates are expected to take responsibility for their own development and careers.

"We are given opportunities to identity what our learning needs are and also to learn from mistakes and what works well in our placement, generating a continuous loop of lessons learned and self-assessment and awareness," reports Obaha Nouairi, who is part of the 2014 intake.

This group is the first to experience the revised programme and they are finding the residential workshops particularly useful. According to graduate chemist Biang Kanasa, "The workshops help us identify and develop non-technical skills and different thinking styles that we didn't realise were just as important as the technical skills. I also find the mentoring very useful as my mentors can identify weaknesses and strengths that I may not be able to see."

Gloria Arabagali is one of four 2014 graduates who helped to prepare and deliver the Corporate Induction residential workshop to the 2015 intake. This was part of a 'built by graduates, for graduates' approach, where graduates are encouraged to get actively involved in the development of those who come after them. Selected from more than one thousand applications, the 2015 intake is made up of 11 graduates from PNG and three from Australia.

"I told them to drive themselves to learn as much as they can," says Gloria. "Never be complacent or comfortable with what is given or what you are tasked to do; challenge yourself to go a step further in your learning journey."

The 2014 intake thinks the programme has an important role to play in Oil Search's growth. "It is very vital because it helps to build home-grown leaders for the organisation. Some graduates will become the next Supervisors, Managers and Superintendents in the next decade," says Greg Kebaja, a graduate Business Development Officer with the Community Affairs Department.

The planned intake for the programme is reviewed every year. For more information, see www.oilsearchcareers.com