Graduate profile: Keelan Whiteley

Supply Chain Graduate Keelan Whiteley in front of a docked cargo ship
Keelan at Immingham Bulk Terminal

Keelan joined our Graduate Programme in September 2017 and has kindly given us an insight into his journey so far at British Steel.

Age: 23
Position: Outbound Shipping – Supply Chain
Location: Scunthorpe
University: Northumbria University
Course: BSc Geography

What’s your role and how long have you been in it?

I’m currently on the Supply Chain graduate scheme and have been in my current position for 5 months now. My current role is in the Outbound Logistics, specifically the Outbound Shipping department, where we’re challenged with the logistics of exporting millions of tonnes of steel every year.

Within my current role, I’ve taken control of the pre-operations meeting for big export shipments. This involves co-ordinating shipping, the mills and the port authorities. In order to do this I’m in regular contact with the port and ship captains, helping to co-ordinate the loading procedures and deliveries to port at Immingham Bulk Terminal.

I also help organise and quantify improvement projects within the department to ensure we’re being efficient and cost-effective.

Why did you choose to work for British Steel?

I’d always heard about British Steel and the esteem in which it was held worldwide. When the opportunity came to start working for the company so soon after it had become British Steel again, it was too good to turn down.

The scale of the business, although daunting at first, is also a real driver behind wanting to work here.

How would you describe the culture of British Steel and how you fit into it?

From the moment you start working here, you can feel how much everyone cares about British Steel and its success. I’m yet to meet someone that doesn’t want to improve the business and continue to make profits. I believe this is embodied in British Steel’s core values – pride, passion and performance.

How do you think your job at British Steel will help with your future career goals?

The graduates and trainees at British Steel have huge amounts of opportunities for experience and responsibility. I feel everyone wants the new, younger employees to learn as much as they can. This, coupled with opportunities to gain qualifications that are relevant for a future career, means that career progression is always a possibility.

What is the best thing about working for British Steel?

In my personal experience, the amount of responsibility I’ve taken on so early in my career is the best part about working at British Steel.

I also feel like I’ve made a difference to the department I’ve joined almost immediately. This gives me the motivation to carry on working hard and keep driving the business forward.

What do you find most challenging about working for British Steel?

The initial challenge for me was getting my head around the intricacies of steelmaking, and then within my department. The scale of the operation control needed to ensure everything is transported to where it needs to be while meeting customer requirements isn’t easy.

This information is something that just becomes common knowledge to people that have been working here a while, and the depth of knowledge that your colleagues have is sometimes a little daunting. However, it is comforting to remember that everyone begins the same way – at square one.

Can you describe British Steel in 3 words?

The first word I would use to describe British Steel is massive. The scale of the company is one of its chief characteristics. The global reach that the business has is one of its strongest assets - manufacturing steel that has gone into thousands of incredible, world-famous projects.

The second word I would use is proud. All of my colleagues have an ingrained pride and loyalty to this company, which is something that begins to work its way into you as soon as you become involved with the company. This pride is another important characteristics of its workforce, ensuring that the company is always striving to be the best that it can possibly be.

The last word I would use is heritage. Even though some of the technology that was invented to create steel back in the 1900s should seem old and out of use, the technology was so far ahead of its time, that by supplementing it with technology from the current age has ensured that British Steel can continue to manufacture the top quality product that it still does today. If you ever get to visit a mill here at British Steel Scunthorpe, you’ll see what I mean.

Have you got any advice for people currently applying to work for British Steel?

I would advise current applicants to British Steel to cross their fingers and hope they get the job! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here already, enjoying working alongside my colleagues as well as being excited by the opportunities available to further my career.