We sat down with one of our graduates, Lucy Jones, who completed her placement three years ago, and now enjoys a substantive post at British Steel...
Position at British Steel: Energy Specialist (third year at British Steel)
Course: MEng Electronic and Electrical Engineering
University: Loughborough University
What attracted you to British Steel?
I live locally and I’ve got family that work here, and I did a placement between my third and fourth year at university which I enjoyed. I knew that they’d be able to offer me quite a wide variety of positions by speaking to family who work here.
What duties does your role include?
I’m on the implementation team for energy optimisation, so currently I’m facilitating implementation projects that could possibly save money within the company. Examples of these are upgrading kit and installing VSD’s (variable speed drives) which control the speed of motors, allowing them to slow down and save power instead of running at full speed unnecessarily. My favourite position so far was working at the Scunthorpe Rail Section Mill. When I was there I looked after day-to-day management of maintenance, such as ordering spare parts, organising the work for the next week, looking after the team, preparing for stock periods, and really just the general running of the plant electrically.
How did your degree prepare you for your new position?
The project I did at university in my final year was how to design a patch antenna for clothes, so it didn’t really prepare me for the high end electrical side as here it’s mainly medium and high voltage, whereas that was more electronics and communication. However, the process that you go through to write a thesis, skills such as time and project management definitely came in handy and obviously it’s helpful knowing the theoretical basics before you go on to apply your knowledge practically.
What are your colleagues like?
Really friendly and supportive which is great, because when you’ve just started as a graduate you’ve just done all the theory side of everything and it can be a bit overwhelming, but they were all so eager to help me settle in. Like, for example, if they were going out to perform a task, they’d always come to me and say ‘Lucy, we’re just going out to do this, have you done it yet?” Basically they’d invite me to come along and learn things with them as they did it, which I thought was really good.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking of joining?
Get your application in in a timely manner, be enthusiastic, have a solid CV and just be open to everything!