What have I learnt on my HR Summer Placement?

It’s been a fantastic summer here at Centrica, and now it’s almost over. This week I’ll take part in my end-of-placement review with my Line Manager, and next week I’ll be presenting to the Graduate Talent Board and other interns, to tell them all about my placement and what I’ve learnt. This is an exciting time, at the end of a full and wonderful placement. So what have I learnt?

Firstly, I’ve learnt that 10 weeks is a very short period of time. I‘ve accomplished a lot since late June, when I started, but these accomplishments are dwarfed by the range and scope of future work opportunities. Every time you answer one business question, another ten will rise up to replace it! This should be seen as an encouraging sign, as in the world of business new challenges and developments should always be expected. Importantly, you should not expect to get a piece of work done that needs no further work in future; the placement is primarily about demonstrating your potential and there is plenty of scope for work to be transferred to other team members.

Secondly, I’ve learnt not to be afraid to accept as many learning opportunities as possible. I’ve worked to tight deadlines and at times I’ve felt like training courses and team-building days wouldn’t give me enough time to get the work done. But Centrica know what they are doing: they are well-versed in recruiting graduate talent and offer a staggering variety of events which still allow plenty of time for completing your main work projects. I‘ve taken part in two team-building days, two learning visits (see my previous blog recounting my trip to Krakow), and plenty of charitable volunteering. Moreover, skills sessions for Excel, presentations and, of course, blogging have been widely available. Centrica are just as interested in your future capabilities as your present capabilities: do not feel guilty about taking time to build on your skills and networks!

One final lesson I’ll share is that it pays to prepare for the end of the placement from the beginning. Centrica is a big company, and it can take time to build the professional networks needed to get work done. If you know that you need assistance from somebody, contact them immediately, to introduce yourself and let them know your requirements, even if their help will not be needed until later. We were asked to prepare for our end-of-placement presentations several weeks ago, at a time that seemed much too early; in retrospect, it was the ideal time to take stock and think about what we were contributing, and what we wanted to contribute in future. Planning is essential, and sticking to a well-made but flexible placement plan will help make your time at Centrica a success.

These are just some of the lessons I’ve learnt so far, and I’m confident that as long as I’m with Centrica the learning will never stop!

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