Hi everyone 🙂
I’m knee-depth in examinations right and had my first paper earlier this week. One down and three more to go: onwards and forwards I say! I literally can’t wait till my final paper on Friday which believe it not, is from 6.30-8.30pm. I’ll basically be going straight from the examination hall to Rubix :p (our on campus nightclub).
Anyways, back to today’s post. I thought I would blog about my placement year experience a.k.a Professional Training Year (PTY). I must say that hands down, my placement year has been the best year of university so far! I absolutely loved working within the Energy industry + the fact that I had a competitive salary was great. I worked for the UK Power team as a back office analyst within the Back Office Department for RWE Supply and Trading. Back Office is the control and support function within the company, playing a vital role in making sure the given support fits the business and responsible for the confirmation and settlement of commodity trades amongst other things.
My main tasks were to handle the Confirmation side of the process for all UK Power trades. I was thrilled that after a month or so of training, I was given the responsibility of being in charge. I reported to my line manager on a regular basis and had a very supportive team who really took me under their wing. Whenever in doubt, I asked because I was very aware that I was dealing with trades worth millions of pounds. I found that everyone was more than happy to guide me. My attitude definitely helped as nobody likes a know-it-all. I was there to learn as much as I could and thus had no shame in asking for help even if it was 10 times in a day.
I quickly learnt that it was up to me as to how much I wanted to gain from this experience. I could have simply done my daily tasks and got a decent grade from my placement year. But I was very aware that I had this great opportunity to really develop and challenge myself and hence spoke to my manager regarding this. As a result, we came up with a personal development plan which included rotations with other Back Office commodity teams, shadowing Gas and Power traders as well as a two-week research exchange to Essen, Germany (RWE headquarters). My line manager was very supportive and encouraged me to get involved in projects within the department. This allowed me to develop my teamwork, communication and leaderships skills which must have shown because I was put in charge of the testing phase of one of our system upgrades and ran it successfully.
(The trading floor of RWE headquarters in Essen. Also, the largest trading floor in Europe!)
I won’t lie and say that it was all smooth sailing from the get-go. I was a complete wreck on my first day due to nerves. Thankfully, my mum had flown in to settle me into my new place (I moved to Swindon where the office is located which is 1.5 hours away from Guildford). It took me a few weeks to settle in and find my footing within my team and the wider department. My mum gave me the best piece of advice regarding this: to go in with no expectations and with an open mind. I definitely followed this to heart because this way, I didn’t have preconceived ideas or expectations as to of how my placement year would go. Instead, I just went with the flow and took every challenge as it came and grew from it.
There definitely were days when I missed the fact that I couldn’t just sleep in and stay in bed all day. I had people relying on me and responsibilities which meant I had to get myself out of bed at 7am and get on the bus to get to work. I didn’t mind much though because I genuinely loved going into the office because I really felt valuable and had a purpose. Also, I became really good friends with a few of the girls in my team which definitely helped. We’re all still really close and I definitely consider them as friends and not just work colleagues.
The benefits from completing a placement year are uncountable! I’ve learnt so much in terms of knowledge regarding the energy industry as well as polished my interpersonal skills. I can now hold my own and am not afraid to take charge and speak up when need be. The best part from this placement year is that I have grown up so much, both professionally and personally. I’ve matured in ways that haven’t yet to even materialize. Coming back to final year, I have never been more determined to do well and I would definitely contribute that to my time on placement.
This placement year gave me a taste of what the working world was really like. Being a student was the best part because I was treated as an adult and given real responsibilities. At the same time however, I had a safety net to make errors because I was a student at the end of the day and there to learn as much as I could.
My parting words on placement year: Take that chance on yourself and go on placement because for every fear you might have, there’s 10 times the benefits to be achieved 😀
Till next time: Selamat tinggal x