After joining the Dubai Aluminium Company Ltd (DUBAL) graduate programme following her graduation from the University of Southampton in 1996, Aysha Binbraik quickly realised that working in a laboratory as an analyst wasn’t for her.
“I wanted to explore more options,” she said, “and Learning and Development appealed to me. So when I was offered a role in this area at Emirates Petroleum Products Company (EPPCO) in 2000, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. It was a fantastic experience that ultimately led me to Shell.”
While developing and managing operator training programmes for Emiratis at EPPCO, Shell partially sponsored her to complete her MSc in Human Resources Management. After successfully managing the aviation operator training programme in partnership with Shell, Aysha was offered a role with the organisation in Downstream Dubai.
“I joined Shell in 2003 and it is unquestionably one of the best career choices I have made,” she said.
“I saw the opportunity to be a good ambassador for Emiratis in the private sector because I joined at a time when there weren’t many of us working in that area. There’s a lot of Emirati talent out there, so it’s important to ensure representation at all levels and sectors of the workforce.”
Although Aysha believes it’s important to be recognised for her achievements, she doesn’t want it to be because she’s a woman. She explained: “I want to be recognised as a competent professional, regardless of my nationality or gender. I want to compete with my peers on an international level. Being true to my goals and values has been instrumental in how I have driven my professional life.”
In her current role, Aysha is accountable for supporting the design and delivery of local HR policies, while ensuring global policies are also implemented. For her, the experience is totally unique, as she explained: “I enjoy working in a diverse workplace and value the respect we are all given, regardless of our differences. For me, it’s the diversity that makes Shell a great place to work. I don’t believe the company would be as successful as it is without a diverse workforce – one that reflects the diversity of our partners and customers and the countries in which we operate.”
For those looking to join Shell, Aysha would advise them to be prepared: “Do your homework and be true to yourself in terms of what you want and what you are willing to offer. That’s so important. Shell is tremendously supportive and offers development plans, formal training, learning with the help of a mentor, career guidance resources and many other opportunities. But ultimately, you need to understand and drive your own development to get the very best out of opportunities offered to you.”