Rachel explains her HR summer placement experience
I completed my Summer Placement with Centrica in 2012. Having the opportunity to spend 10 weeks of my summer working in Windsor at Centrica’s headquarters was a truly brilliant experience!
I lived in local University accommodation with around 50 other Summer Placement students and it is fair to say I made some friends for life. I worked in a specialist HR role in Centrica’s Corporate Centre and sat within the ‘Talent Team’ who have the responsibility to identify potential and promote the development of some of the most senior people in the business. I can honestly say I had more support and encouragement from my line manager and the team around me than I could have ever expected.
My main project was to build a business case for women in leadership roles, which gave me huge scope to explore different ideas and create a host of opportunities to enrich my project. A real highlight for me was representing Centrica on my own at a number of gender diversity and equal opportunity conferences in London – it really surprised me how much trust Centrica had in me and the level of responsibility I had throughout my placement. Not only did this really benefit my project but it also pushed me out of my comfort zone which really increased my confidence.
I also worked on employee performance and potential calibrations, had a number of opportunities to experience day-to-day generalist HR workings (including supporting at disciplinary and grievances), worked on designing a dashboard for the Talent Team, took the role as team leader for a charity challenge... amongst a number of other projects – it was a whirlwind Summer!
Not only did I have a brilliant summer, the placement also gave me the platform I needed to be offered a place on the HR graduate scheme, which I did not hesitate to accept. The Summer Placement also allowed me to build a network which was a real benefit when I started on Centrica’s HR Graduate Scheme in September.
If you want a snapshot into what life is like in a fast-paced and challenging business, Centrica’s Summer Placement is for you! If I was to give one piece of advice to new starters on the Summer Placement it would be to get involved in as much as you can – take every opportunity you get and create your own opportunities to get as much as out of the placement as possible!