Starting my second year at Cardiff University studying integrated engineering, I had to decide whether I should do a year in industry and what the benefits would be. I was looking at what was on offer when I came across the TARGETjobs competition for the Engineering Undergraduate of the Year. Looking at the previous year’s winner, the prize looked amazing. Not only would the winner get a year's placement with E.ON, they would also win a trip for two to one of E.ON's European projects, an invitation to the awards ceremony and a trophy. I’m interested in the energy sector so knowing E.ON sponsored part of this interested me. This title seemed pretty immense but I thought I’d give it try.
The process was quite straightforward. It ranged from answering questions related to the energy sector to psychometric and logic test and submitting your CV. Don’t get put off by this: it was all in small chunks, which made it easier. I suggest doing them as soon as you can but there is still time to do them last minute if you forget! If you’ve made the effort to apply, you’d be silly not to go the last leg.
I got a call from both TARGETjobs and an E.ON representative; I was invited to come to the assessment centre along with 20 others for the day. Assessment days are always a bit daunting but this one was actually quite fun (as fun as they can be!); all the assessors there really just wanted to get the best out of you to see your full potential. I thought the assessment day went relatively well, but now it was just a waiting game to hear back from them.
The phone call I had been waiting for! I had been shortlisted to come to the awards ceremony. I was ecstatic. It was such an honour to get to the top ten – getting to this point was an achievement in itself. The competition was tough: I knew this the second I met all of the energetic intellectuals at the assessment centre.
The awards ceremony was held at the East Wintergarden in London. It was such a vibrant day: I got the chance to meet the other candidates from across the different awards and the E.ON representatives. It was a really good place to network. TARGETjobs pulled all the stops out with this, from the delicious food to Fiona Bruce! Of course one of the most interesting things was meeting her; she gave a great talk to kick off the ceremony. As she read through the winners I started to get a little nervous – the Engineering Undergraduate of the Year was one of the last to be called out. Then it was the time all of us at the table had been waiting for. When she called my name out I froze as I couldn’t believe it. It's certainly a moment I will never forget.
Working for E.ON:
I have now started my placement. It wasn’t what I expected as I didn’t know what to expect! With regards to developing and gaining new skills, this is a fantastic place to do so. I feel part of a team here. I’ve been here for four weeks and loved every minute of it. On top of this I still have a trip planned to go to Germany to see one of E.ON's projects.
A female winning the Engineering Undergraduate of the Year Award is a milestone in relation to us as a society moving forward in promoting STEM subjects to women and equal opportunities. I want to say a big thank you to TARGETjobs and E.ON for supporting this; hopefully this will encourage girls to follow their dreams in subjects that are prevalently taken up by boys. It is so important to have a mixed gender workforce!
The only advice I would give is to just go for it: do it for the placement, the holiday, the experience, the awards ceremony and for you. Through any part of the process you will only gain valuable skills to help you go further in life. Apply now – what have you got to lose?