What does a procurement graduate do?

Ellie tells us what it is like as a procurement graduate with Centrica

Ellie Desvaux

You might be wondering how I got into Procurement…I studied English at the University of Leicester and worked in recruitment after graduating, recruiting Procurement professionals. It was during this time I discovered what Procurement was, and the synergies between Procurement and my role in sales (fast paced, negotiations, networking etc.).

So what actually is Procurement? We are responsible for a spend of circa £10 billion – buying all the things needed to keep the business functioning, as well as procuring the products and services for our customers of today and tomorrow – so a vital function in moving the business forwards, in both a strategic and operational sense. We seek to find the best value products and services for the business on the market, constantly staying ahead of the trends and providing the business units with valuable insights.

Procurement is a department that spans across the business (from British Gas, Centrica Group, Centrica Energy, Direct Energy etc.). My first placement is in the British Gas Procurement Outsourcing Team, and what a few months it’s been! On my first day I sat down with my manager (a highly regarded industry-wide outsourcing expert) to find out I would be leading a project that would see me liaising with teams across British Gas, travelling around the country and potentially impacting our colleagues in Direct Energy (Texas) too!

Since then, I’ve picked up 2 further projects within the metering space (a really interesting part of the business if you get an opportunity to work in it!) and am supporting on a tender, which has so far seen me visiting suppliers on-site alongside interacting with internal stakeholders in different areas of the business. With meters being at the heart of our company, and one of the business' top priorities for 2015, I feel really lucky to be able to have an impact and involvement in this area.

Outside of my placement, I’ve been studying for a professional qualification - CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply), which is a indication of the investment the company makes in graduates. I found out a few weeks ago I passed my first 2 exams – hooray (only another 13 to go)! From researching other Procurement graduate schemes, Centrica’s really stood out to me as a good place to learn and develop, with the energy industry constantly changing and offering a challenging environment.

I would like to think I also have a healthy work-life balance, with Centrica very much encouraging this attitude. I enjoy socialising with my team, the wider graduate community and my friends. I love skiing (I’ve just come back from a great trip in Austria), hockey, running and I'm a self-confessed foodie.

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