Anca Cristea tells us her about her Centrica Summer placement experience
Hello; I wanted to talk to you a bit about the Summer Placement programme offered by Centrica. As someone who has done a summer placement and continued to a graduate position in the same company, I cannot stress enough the usefulness of the placement, both for yourself and for the company.
So let me start by asking you one thing, have you considered doing a Summer Placement? If yes, great job! If no, is it because you want to do something else with your summer? Maybe travel? Well, not only will a summer placement give you the opportunity to be in a new place for ten weeks, but it will also help fund those escapades to a sunny place!
Coming back to our Centrica summer placement, I completed a Finance one in the summer of 2012, and I am now in a Finance graduate position with the company. My ten-week summer placement ended up feeling very short, because there were so many things going on! From the busy days at work (the good busy kind!), to training, charity events and social events with the interns, I think there was never a moment to get bored.
My role was in Internal Audit, which was a great opportunity to understand how the company works as a whole. The audit I was involved in was an Information Systems (IS) change programme at British Gas, which focused on the update of their Customer Relationship Management interface, in order to improve customer service. The knowledge I built on with that audit was fundamental as a few months into my graduate placement I was assigned to an audit on the same project, which reviewed a different aspect of the programme. Overall, it was a great opportunity to understand Downstream, which is the gas and power supply arm of Centrica. Many of you will know this area as British Gas. Luckily, I had colleagues with extensive expertise in the other areas of the business, like Exploration & Production (E&P) and Midstream, two areas which sit in Centrica Energy, together with Power Generation. E&P is a leading producer of oil and gas, with assets in the UK and the Netherlands, Norway and Canada. Conversations with my colleagues helped fit the puzzle pieces and build an understanding of Centrica as a vertically integrated company. My favourite conversation was about Centrica Energy Midstream, our route to the global trading markets for our downstream and upstream businesses. I gained insight of how this part of the business functions, for example how the gas extracted by E&P and the Power produced by Centrica Energy is not necessarily utilised directly by British Gas, but is instead traded on the wholesale gas and power markets.
I was also involved in Recruitment for full-time Internal Audit positions and participated as a facilitator in an assessment centre. As a facilitator, I welcomed the candidates and briefed them about what their day would be like, and was responsible to run the assessment day smoothly. I also had the opportunity to attend the wash-up session at the end of the day. It was a brilliant experience and an eye opener regarding the set of skills a finance professional is expected to demonstrate.
However, it wasn’t all work and no play! Living with another 50 interns meant that there is an additional community you belong to, weekends are always filled with something exciting (going out, a surprise trip to London or a day out in Windsor) and you also motivate each other greatly. Many of us are also on the Graduate Scheme now and it’s a great way to start building you own network from very early on.
During a summer placement, there are many opportunities to become involved and this will be done in a company which is very dedicated to developing its people.
Hence if you’re still wondering whether to apply for a summer placement, just do it! It’ll be one of your best experiences. Choose Centrica! They not only offer true opportunities for learning and challenge your limits in a safe environment, but they also take great care of their interns.