"I think everyone is different, whether you have a disability or not. It doesn’t matter what that difference is. And we should celebrate our differences."

Bob Nolan, Subsurface and Wells Support Lead – Europe
Joe Hansen

“How sharing my disability let me be myself”

Joe Hansen is a Graduate Analyst and dyslexic. But Shell as an employer challenged his thinking, not least in seeing ability where others see disability.

“When I arrived for my interview at Shell, the HR Coordinator came just to talk to me and asked ‘Is everything set up for you? Is everything OK?’” says Joe. “I remember thinking how nice it was that somebody did that.”

Joe Hansen is halfway through the Shell Graduate Programme for IT. He currently works as a Graduate Business Analyst in Retail IT and he has dyslexia. 

Challenging stigmas

In Joe’s experiences from school and growing up, the condition was poorly understood and even stigmatised. But when he came to Shell he encountered a company that challenged his thinking, and not just in terms of attitudes towards dyslexia.

He explains: “I was doing an economics module on climate change as part of my course at University College London. My lecturer suggested I look into Shell Scenarios. I found it interesting that an oil and gas company was looking to the future of energy like this. It challenged my view of the company; that open, collaborative, innovative dialogue grabbed me.”

Read more about Joe experience

Cara Antoine

“A career built on capabilities”

Cara Antoine contracted a rare fungus that left her blind in one eye. Find out how, after two years of treatments, she’s now stronger than ever.

Four days into a foreign business trip Cara suddenly fell ill. Doctors were mystified by her symptoms. It wasn’t until she underwent five months of testing in the Netherlands that the cause was identified as being due to an extremely rare fungus.

But by then it was too late. The fungus had worked its way through Cara’s body, causing extensive damage to her internal organs and leaving her blind in her left eye. Cara was forced to take medical leave for two years, undergoing 14 separate surgeries. It was an incredibly taxing process and one that has had a massive impact on her approach to life, both in and out of work.

Eventually, the experience made her stronger, more resilient, and she was able to return to work in The Hague full-time, fully confident and as ambitious as she ever was.

Read more about Cara Antoine

"One thing that’s unique about disability and D&I is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one person doesn’t always work for another."

Andy Kneen, Human Resources Manager for Gas in Projects & Technology and Chair of the enABLE network in the Netherlands.
Andy Kneen walking and talking on the phone at a Shell office
Andy was involved in a road traffic accident. After two years of operations and rehabilitation, he felt ready to find a job.

Support in numbers

To support our employees with disabilities, we have a number of supportive internal networks in place, most notably the enABLE Network. First launched in 2005 in the UK, there are now six enABLE Networks across the globe, including the UK, the Netherlands, France, the USA, Canada and Brazil.

The enABLE Network provides people with disabilities and people whose lives have been touched by those with disabilities an open forum to engage and share experiences. Through this open discussion, the network raises awareness and understanding of the challenges faced so that line managers and colleagues have the knowledge to be able to thrive in the workplace. It allows employees with disabilities the opportunity to improve the work environment and processes to make it more inclusive for all.

Creating a space for this dialogue is crucial to facilitating the kind of open collaboration that is required for employees with disabilities to thrive.

"I’ve received nothing but support and help. Disclosure is really important. It’s part of the acceptance process."

Thobile Mkhize, Retail Finance Advisor

Open for sharing

Disclosing a disability to colleagues remains one of the biggest hurdles that employees face in the workplace. Whether through positive or negative discrimination, the fear of opening up to colleagues is a real one. We encourage disclosure and empower our people to share their issues so that we can help remove them. We believe in honesty, integrity and respect for all.

Together this creates a truly open and collaborative environment that benefits all Shell employees.

"Shell was the first company to get back to me. At the time I was in a wheelchair, but they made it clear it wasn’t an issue. I had a very positive recruitment experience and I joined as a result of that. Shell was very accommodating and they created a great first impression."

Andy Kneen, Human Resources Manager for Gas in Projects and Technology

Equal opportunities for all

Shell’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) team takes great pride in actively promoting equal opportunities for disabled employees. It’s this commitment that first attracted Andy Kneen, Human Resources Manager for Gas in Projects and Technology, to the organisation.

Andy was involved in a road traffic accident soon after graduating from university. After two years of rehabilitation, he felt ready to find a job.

After a few years Andy wanted to give something back, so in 2005 he joined Shell’s UK enABLE Network, which at the time was a small employee group that discussed disability issues in the workplace.

Since then, there are now six enABLE Networks across the globe, including the UK, the Netherlands, France, the USA, Canada and Brazil.

“We use the network to raise awareness about different kinds of disability and impairments. It gives us the power to lobby the organisation and make the work environment more inclusive.”

For Andy it’s a chance to give back, for Shell it’s an opportunity to create an environment that empowers everyone to reach their full potential.

"Many disabilities, such as Asperger’s Syndrome, are abilities in disguise, and we just have to make them work for us."

Diederik Weve, Senior HSSE Consultant

Enabling successful careers for people with disabilities

At Shell, we recognise people for their talents.

Diederik Weve is a Senior HSSE Consultant based at Shell Rijswijk. In 2009 he was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Instead of looking at his disability as a problem, Diederik says it is a good thing.

This belief underpins how we work with employees with disabilities, enabling all individuals to perform to their full potential.


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