Undergraduate Alex McLoughlin was accepted on the Year in Industry scheme at E.ON UK. Gaining fantastic experience, having the opportunity to travel around the world as well as working on different projects, Alex reveals why working in energy and utilities is the sector for her.
What degree are you currently studying, and what Year in Industry scheme were you accepted into?
I am studying Electronic and Communications Engineering (BEng) at the University of Kent, and I was accepted into the Offshore Wind Performance Coordinator Year in Industry scheme at E.ON.
Why did you decide to do a Year in Industry with E.ON?
The energy industry is vital to our everyday lives; I wanted to be a part of an important business that has a direct effect on how we live. With the green energy targets set by the government, it is an exciting time to be involved - new technologies are emerging and improvements are happening constantly.
Tell us a little bit about what you are working on at the moment.
I am working on improvements for the fleet of crew transfer vessels (CTVs) that E.ON own and use for travelling to their offshore wind farms. For me, this has meant travelling around the country to visit each site, gathering data and talking to a wide range of people. Currently, I am working on a safety management system for operating the vessels, monitoring performance data and analysing compliance with best practice in the industry.
"The opportunities involved with my role are fantastic; I have travelled across the UK, Scotland and Germany, attended conferences in London, and sailed on various different boats."
What has been the highlight of the scheme for you so far?
The opportunities involved with my role are fantastic; I have travelled across the UK, Scotland and Germany, attended conferences in London, and sailed on various different boats. The atmosphere at E.ON is really friendly and supportive, so I feel at ease in the office environment and able to learn from others around me, which has made the whole experience very enjoyable.
What does a typical day look like?
I am largely based in the Westwood office in Coventry, where I attend various online meetings and contact colleagues in different locations, as my role requires working closely with many other people. The time flies by as I find what I am working on quite exciting.
If I’m travelling, it’s is usually quite an early start and often a long journey, however I find face-to-face meetings very beneficial, as well as attending a variety of interesting conferences and meetings - the travelling doesn’t put me off.
Where do you see yourself after your Year in Industry?
I’ve found this year in industry incredibly rewarding and it has influenced my thinking about future careers. I can easily see myself working either in renewables, preferably offshore wind, or in vessels – using both my degree and knowledge of sailing, which I enjoy outside of work.
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about doing a Year in Industry at E.ON?
Apply for the scheme as soon as you can so that you can get into the first assessment centre. E.ON is a great place to work and there are so many opportunities - you can make as much or as little from the placement as you choose.
Additional question: What are some the highlights and challenges of being a woman in a STEM industry/role?
As a woman in a male-dominated environment, I’ve never had any issues with being one of the very few females and have always met with a positive response, however I do understand how the prospect of this could be a challenge for others. This is such a fulfilling and rewarding area to work in, and I would encourage any woman thinking of a career in a STEM role to give it their all - not to be put off.