Technology Manager Paul Cockram joined us as a graduate back in 2006. Since that time he's worked in a number of technical roles across a variety of product areas, and also kept up his learning, including achieving a masters degree. Find out more about what it's like to join us out of university and how Paul's career has really taken off...
Tell us about your background
I joined the business in 2006 as a graduate trainee in the Technical function. This trainee programme involved a number of 3-month placements around the Scunthorpe site in either Technical or Operations departments. Following a couple of placements, in 2007 I took my first substantive role as a technologist at the Medium Section Mill (now the Scunthorpe Rail & Section Mill). This was a really exciting time as we commissioned the mill to roll rail products for the first time. This provided plenty of opportunities and challenges for me to get my teeth in to!
Since that first role, I’ve been lucky enough to work in a number of different areas, mainly in the Technical function. I have worked in customer-facing technical roles in the plates and wire rod product areas, and as the Product Manager for our Rail business, working on business transformation and Capital Expenditure projects.
Throughout my career I have continued to learn and study when opportunities have presented themselves and achieved an MSc following part-time distance learning in 2012, supported by the company.
Since 2016 I have been in-situ as the Technology Manager for the Scunthorpe Rod Mill, with a spell in the middle of this period as the Plant Manager for the Rod Mill in 2018/19.
What does your day-to-day role involve?
My role as Technology Manager for the Rod Mill can be extremely varied.
The Rods Technical department covers a range of activities including product and process developments, mechanical testing, product release, certification, customer-facing activities and Quality Systems Management in line with the automotive standards the Rod Mill works to.
So, one day I can be working with the team on mill trials to improve our product quality or installing new equipment; another day working with R&D and the Rods technical team on new product developments; another day, debating the wording for new product standards on ISO or EN standards committees; and another day I can be out in the market place meeting our customers face-to-face to understand their processes, their product needs and how we can help them succeed with the best products we can offer. So my role is varied and the people I interact with can be extremely varied from day to day.
Why do you enjoy working for British Steel?
Working for British Steel has always provided me with opportunities to learn new things and push myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve been fortunate in this regard, but it has meant I’ve certainly never found myself bored or without interesting challenges to overcome!
The people make a workplace, and I can honestly say I’ve worked with (and continue to work with!) some amazing people over my career.
What advice would you give to other people considering a career with us?
British Steel has always provided interesting challenges and opportunities to keep me motivated throughout my career.
Over the coming years, there is no doubt that our industry will have a new set of challenges to tackle as the world around us changes.
If you have the lateral thinking and problem-solving skills required to drive us forward in this ever-changing landscape and the willingness to challenge the status quo, then a career for British Steel could be perfect for you.