My first 'proper' HSES role: getting to grips with Grimsby

Fiona talks us through her time on the HSES graduate scheme

Fiona Quinlan

With my feet finally a little more on the ground a few weeks into my first role, it seemed the perfect opportunity to reflect on what I’ve been up to in my placement so far.

From January through to August, I am based at the Centrica Renewables office in Grimsby. This is the Operations and Maintenance Base for our onshore and offshore wind farms, and I am here as part of the Centrica Energy Power Generation Environment Team. Working in an operational environment is really exciting, with the control room for the wind farms just around the corner from my desk and many people from my office regularly working offshore, it feels like you are in the thick of the action. Settling into my first ‘proper’ placement (after the 16 week HSES induction period which involved travelling here, there and anywhere) has been a bit of a culture shock. Travelling had almost become a norm for me, but in that sense a desk to call my own couldn’t have been more welcome.

In terms of what I have actually been working on, I have been given three different projects at present. The great thing about these projects (and also the most terrifying part at the same time) is that they are mine to take and do what I choose to with; I am my own project manager. However, I do have the help and support of a dedicated ‘sponsor’ for each project; a fellow Centrica employee who has an interest or involvement and can guide me in the right direction if I am a little unsure! Being given so much responsibility and control over my own work is certainly a challenge and is pushing me beyond my comfort zone, but it is also great in ensuring that I have a real opportunity to prove myself early on.

As an example, one of the projects I am working on is developing a sustainability proposal for Centrica Energy Power Generation. The environment team is looking to implement more proactive initiatives, focusing not just on the matters first at hand, but looking to provide real long term sustainability benefits, so I am tasked with gathering ideas and putting forward a recommendation on what might work best. At first this certainly seemed a daunting task, as it involves approaching a wide range of people to ask for their opinions and developing an understanding of the different roles these individuals play in the operations of the business. However, it is also providing a fantastic opportunity to develop my networking skills, as well as my environmental knowledge.

It has to be said that Grimsby is not the most glamorous of locations in which Centrica operates, and perhaps not where you might imagine yourself ending up in the course of a graduate scheme. However, since the office here is a small one, there is a strong sense of community, and everyone has made me feel very welcome. It also means a real bargain can be had on rent, meaning you can make the most of travelling to visit friends on the weekends guilt free!

With two further 8 month placements to undertake over the course of the graduate scheme, I know I will have the opportunity to sample a range of locations and job roles, keeping me on my toes!