Joshua Haywood joined our graduate programme in September 2017 after graduating from the University of Lincoln where he studied Business and Finance. Josh shares his journey so far with us...
What is your role and how long have you been in it?
I joined British Steel as a finance graduate in September 2017, spending roughly a year on the graduate scheme before being offered a substantive position as a senior finance analyst, primarily for our Rail UK business unit. I’ve been in this role since October 2018 and am based at the Rod Mill in Scunthorpe.
My main roles include those you would expect of a management accountant, such as production and variance reporting, as well as variance analysis for the business’ senior managers. In Lehman’s terms, I help report and describe the monthly financial result, explaining to the management teams why we have performed better (or sometimes worse) than we would usually expect.
I’m also currently managing a project on Supplier Statement Reconciliations. This is basically a task to make sure there are no discrepancies between what we have on our systems for bills outstanding and what our suppliers have as outstanding. Since I’ve taken on the project, the process has been improved and made much more efficient, so now we’re looking to fully implement these improvements.
Why did you choose to work for British Steel?
From having a background in finance and economics, I had prior knowledge of the steel industry as it was often used as a case study at university. The market had always intrigued me and when I saw the position available, I immediately got excited about possibly working in the industry for British Steel.
I was also excited to be able to work for a company that has shown resilience to overcome many challenges in its short time as British Steel. These environments are great to learn from and take with you as your career develops.
Another aspect was the salary offered was better than those of similar roles being advertised at the same time.
Once I’d applied for the role, the assessment centre also helped persuade me to take the job. The Early Careers Team made the process so straightforward, answering any questions before the day very quickly as well as making me feel at ease on the day of the assessment centre. I immediately felt welcome.
How would you describe the culture of British Steel and how you fit into it?
I would describe the culture at British Steel as many things, but most of all refreshing. There’s so much care for the employees and everything is done with the employees in mind.
Health and safety are at the heart of everything the business does. From when you first start in your induction, it’s drilled into you the importance of looking after yourself and others. If a job can’t be done safely, it won’t be done at all.
A continuous improvement culture is currently being embedded into the business. Every day is about improvement, growth and learning, and all ideas are taken into consideration. From a personal view, as long as I can keep improving day by day, with the help of the business, then anything is possible and we can achieve great things.
I’d also say it’s welcoming and friendly. From day one everyone makes time to talk to you, whether it’s about work or just wanting to know more about you. The majority of people you come into contact with seem to have a positive attitude and mindset, which is often contagious.
How do you think your role at British Steel will help with your future career goals?
British Steel outlined in its job offer that it’s willing to invest in its employees and allow them to gain internationally recognised professional qualifications to further their knowledge and skillset. This is important in the world of finance and they’ve lived up to this statement, as I am currently studying towards my CIMA professional qualification.
The opportunity of gaining a professional accountancy qualification, with help and funding from British Steel, will open new doors for me personally. It will also help me move through the company and further my career, while giving back to the company at the same time.
The internal set-up within British Steel is fantastic. Every graduate and placement student is given their own personal mentor and champion who they can chat to confidentially about any topic, at any time, whether it be work-related or personal. These mentors and champions already have the experience within the business to guide you through the early stages in your career and allow you to grow both professionally and personally.
What do you think the best thing about working for British Steel is?
The best part about working for British Steel is the people. Everyone is always friendly and always willing to help.
My first 3 months were spent as part of the Construction team. During this time I worked very closely with people from all kinds of backgrounds and disciplines, and having got to know most of them very well, there’s always someone who is happy to lend a helping hand. Since then, I’ve met and worked with many more great colleagues who have helped me settle in and become a valued member of the team.
What do you find most challenging about British Steel?
So far, the most challenging part was having very little experience in the industry. At first, it was always tough to get into the conversations and know what to say right away. However, people don’t just expect you to know everything, so if ever there’s a problem, all you need to do is say so. When you need anything clarifying, if you ask someone they will be more than happy to help.
Can you describe British Steel in 3 words?
If I could describe British Steel in 3 words, the first would be versatile. There are a lot of different scenarios in every job and it’s central to your role that you’re able to adapt your skills and mindset for every situation.
The second word I would choose is interesting. Every day brings with it new processes, people and situations. I’d like to think everyone at British Steel would describe their role as exciting because there’s just so much opportunity.
The last word I would use to describe British Steel is developing. Both the business and its employees are growing in confidence and abilities. This role will definitely equip me for the future.
Have you got any advice for people currently applying to work for British Steel?
My advice for anyone wanting to apply for British Steel would be to read up about the company and read the online hints, including the CV tips. Take your time and plan your answers for the video interview and when on the assessment centre, just stay calm and relaxed because it’s designed to get the best out of you, not trip you up, so try to enjoy the experience!
FLASHBACK: Find out what Josh had to say after just 4 months when his was working with our Construction business...