A Yorkshire Graduate Trainee is moving to the US to live and work stateside for two months in what she says is the “opportunity of a lifetime”.

Shannen de’Vries has just celebrated her first anniversary working at HMi Elements, a specialist technology company manufacturing hazardous area computers for the oil and gas industry, which is based in Malton, North Yorkshire.

On 11 April she will fly out to Houston, Texas, to experience living and working in the city for the next two months as part of her training programme.

The 23-year-old says: “I’m having a pinch me moment right now. This last year has been like a whirlwind, I came to HMi to do some data entry work then found myself helping in the production department – and I loved it. I have taken to all the technical stuff really quickly, who ever knew there is a whole wide world outside of English literature.

“The trip to Houston really is the opportunity of a lifetime and I’m excited about what’s ahead.”

Shannen will be living in an apartment complex in a Houston suburb called The Woodlands. In the city, she’ll be working alongside HMi’s Vice President of Global Sales Rob Gaines and Sales Support Engineer Victor Galan, attending client meetings, and learning more about what it’s like to work in the sales team of a global specialist hazardous area computer manufacturer.

“Rob and I will be travelling around the state meeting customers and prospects, and I’ll be spending time in the office working with Victor too. I’m mostly looking forward to working in a different environment, and country, and getting a deeper insight into our customers and the key decision-makers in the US. I’ll be new to sales as well so it will be good to understanding the sales process and pick up some tips from Rob.”

Shannen will also attend the Offshore Technology Conference, known as the OTC 2023, from 1-4 May. It’s the main event in the global oil and gas sector calendar and attracts thousands of offshore energy professionals from 130 countries every year.

“It will be a good education for me,” says Shannen. “I joined HMi a year ago after graduating from University with an English Literature Degree. So, understanding technology is still relatively new to me. OTC will give me the opportunity to delve deeper into understanding emerging technologies and really broaden my knowledge and contacts in the industry.”

But her experience wont all be about working. Shannen is a huge fan of the arts, in particular reading and the theatre. She plans to make the most of the social side of Texas with theatre and library visits and would love to take a road trip to New Orleans for an authentic jazz experience.

“I’ll definitely be making the most of my spare time,” says Shannen. “Visiting local theatres, libraries, outdoor spaces. I think I’ll also take Spanish lessons while I’m there as it will be a good way to learn a new language and make friends.”

Will she get homesick? “I’ll miss my family and friends for sure, but I’ll have so much to learn and explore and I’m very independent as it is. I think I’ll just embrace everything Texas has to offer. It will be very different to the quiet life in Malton I’m sure.”

Shannen will return to the UK in June to continue her Graduate Trainee programme at HMi Elements.