My Engineering Summer Placement: Policies, Strategies & Procedures

You’re probably wondering how policies, strategies and procedures can possibly be exciting to any ordinary 22-year-old Mechanical Engineering undergraduate.

Over the University winter break I made the exciting decision to apply for a Centrica summer placement on the engineering stream. In February, following completion of the online application form, online testing, telephone interview and assessment centre, I was delighted to receive the call informing me that my application had been successful. I was particularly impressed by the detailed feedback and tips Centrica provided me with following my telephone interview. A little over 2 months ago I received the news that I would be spending my summer in Hedon, just outside Hull. I was allocated to work for Centrica Storage in the Asset Integrity team. Having never heard of Hedon and with only a very limited idea of what Asset Integrity was, I knew I was facing both a steep learning curve and a very exciting opportunity!

Having now completed 4 weeks as an Asset Integrity Engineer I consider myself to be well placed to tell you about my role – attempting to remove all of the technical jargon and acronyms that engineers tend to love.

The key priority of an Asset Integrity Engineer is to ensure that all assets are maintained to be safe, reliable and efficient. Centrica Storage owns assets such as offshore gas platforms, onshore gas terminals and high pressure pipelines in some very harsh and corrosive environments. These assets hold and contain large volumes of natural gas at high pressures, making the role of an Asset Integrity Engineer essential in helping to prevent disasters and major accidents. Poor maintenance and a lack of attention to detail have the potential to cost lives, harm the environment and incur significant costs. As an Integrity Engineer I’m protecting the asset and the people working on the asset, as well as members of the public living and working nearby. I’m very motivated and inspired by the impact of this role.

In order to operate safely within the North Sea it’s necessary to abide by many complex and important pieces of law and legislation. Centrica Storage Ltd ensures it’s fully compliant with the law through its policies, strategies and procedures. Although some may view legislation as complex and limiting, it’s clear that nearly every piece of legislation exists to ensure risk is limited and high standards of safety and security are maintained. It’s also important to understand that many pieces of legislation originate as learnings from investigations into past disasters and near misses.

In a couple of months I will return to University to complete my Masters. This placement has definitely added to my motivation to work hard to excel in my degree. I will approach my university work with more enthusiasm as I now have a greater understanding of how my technical skills can be applied within industry. I highly recommend that everyone wishing to promote themselves and become more employable considers a summer placement. I would recommend Centrica as a company who really recognise the importance of training and developing students, and ensure we are given the maximum opportunity and exposure in order to learn.

Find out more about Centrica's Graduate and Undergraduate schemes here.