Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winner of the Engineering Undergraduate of the Year Award, Jake is now half way through his placement with EON. Read why it's not that scary really and why you should enter!

I’m now almost half way through my placement journey and I’m feeling refreshed after the Christmas break; I definitely needed to relax after a fast-paced, but incredibly enjoyable time with E.ON!

I was always concerned that as the intern I would be responsible for fetching the drinks, but this has been far from the case! During the start of my placement I was tasked with the analysis of a project at our Port of Liverpool Combined Heat and Power (CHP) site, which identified significant financial savings over one year.

I was thrown in the deep end slightly when I was invited to present my project at an internal conference to managers from across Europe, but this certainly improved my confidence! Also, it resulted in an invitation to spend a day with E.ON Global Commodities, which was a brilliant opportunity to see a different perspective of our organisation.

As with the majority of professional roles, there is a great deal of office based work; emails, meetings, video conferences (the international ones are especially interesting!) and spreadsheets (certainly a lot of them!). However, working for such a large company means there is essentially always something happening.

This is especially apparent in engineering, as we are privileged to visit many of our assets that we operate, while working with a variety of teams including commercial analysts, strategy and finance. It definitely provides me the opportunity to learn a great deal about the whole sector, as well as my specialist area in generation.

Exploring site:

During September, I travelled with my team to Scotland to visit our Steven’s Croft biomass plant, which is the largest wood-burning plant in the UK. It was extremely interesting to explore the site, join meetings and understand our customer’s requirements.

I am in a particularly fortunate position that the team is highly diverse with a variety of specialist engineers, a chemist and a system analyst; this makes for a hugely enriching learning experience and allows me to relate my computer screen in the office directly to our sites!

Understanding ‘The Bigger Picture’:

Energy is certainly a very topical issue, so I consider it important to understand ‘the bigger picture’. During November I had the chance to attend Energy Live 2013, which was a conference hosting high profile speakers from the energy sector and large scale customers, such as utility and manufacturing companies. The event was held at the (very dark!) London Film Museum and provided the occasion to understand these challenges directly from industry leaders.

I thought that I had a fair comprehension of the energy sector, but this day made me realise how little I knew! If you’d like to work in an ever-evolving industry, then I’d suggest energy – I struggle to keep up with all the interesting developments!
Looking forward to 2014:

As a result of the financial savings that I mentioned at the start of this blog, I have been challenged to develop this project further through the creation of a model for our Liverpool site. It has been fantastic how E.ON have allowed me to undertake a real project with high impact; I certainly didn’t expect such responsibility! I may have felt out of my depth at times, but I couldn’t ask for more supportive colleagues; I feel that I’ve been encouraged to succeed from day one.

I’m excited for the remainder of my time on placement at E.ON, as there’s still so much to learn and projects to complete. To continue my understanding of the sector, I’ve been invited to attend a Westminster Energy Forum, so I’m very much looking forward to understanding our relationship with the politicians!

I was apprehensive about being the only intern at work, but it’s been brilliant to share my experience with the other undergraduates at E.ON HQ, as we are able to discuss our personal development and different areas of the business. Also, we had the privileged opportunity to meet with our CEO, which shows E.ON’s commitment to their undergraduates.
If you’re considering working in the energy sector, I’d strongly encourage you to apply for the Engineering Undergraduate of the Year award – there’s only a short time left. As I said in my last blog, I saw it as application practice and considered myself to have no chance, but I am now enjoying the most incredible experience! Also, it’s interesting to note that a number of the finalists also had job offers. If you see E.ON on your university campus, be sure to say hello – the recruitment team are an extremely friendly bunch! Good luck with your application.

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