Sam Gardiner joined our Year in Industry Scheme with British Gas Business in 2019, while studying Economics at the University of Leicester. He was based in Leicester as a Data and Insight Analyst, working mainly within the customer analytics team.
What attracted you to the scheme?
The main attraction to the scheme were the range of placements on offer and that the Year in Industry Team would match me to the role I was best suited for. Previous students who had done this placement recommended that I apply as the skills and experience they gained from it seemed to shine above other placements I had looked at.
What was the most enjoyable part of your experience?
The most enjoyable part about the whole scheme was getting to work in such an amazing and welcoming environment. My team was always very chatty and I got along with them really well but they were also incredibly knowledgeable and on hand to help. I also loved taking part in a lot of fundraising events such as cake sales and soak the manager with the rest of the placement students.
And what was your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was definitely the transition into the world of data and learning about something I had very little prior experience with. I spent a few months training and learning from my team and my confidence with the various coding languages grew. Becoming competent enough to use these technical programs independently and being able to draw my own insights was my biggest achievement. On top or this, it was incredibly rewarding to reflect on my progress throughout the year as I was able to overcome problems myself whereas previously I would have had to ask for help.
Can you tell us a bit about your current role and how you feel your Year in Industry placement helped to prepare you for it?
My current role is as a Data Architect in Hive, a placement I wouldn't have at all imagined myself in before doing the year in industry.
The technical skills I developed as a Data and Insight Analyst are invaluable in my current role as I am using many of the same programs as before and running into a lot of the same challenges, only this time, I know how to overcome them!
My year placement not only gave me a lot of technical capability but also allowed me to develop lots of soft skills. The main area I improved at was project management as I was quickly given my own projects that would be useful to the team and I was given a lot of freedom with how to deliver it.
What inspires you about working for Centrica?
The most amazing thing about Centrica is the amount of work that goes into something we take pretty much for granted: the energy in our homes and businesses. Also, working within Hive has shown me that Centrica is always constantly striving to deliver extra to their customers and are much more than just an energy company.
Why you would recommend the scheme to others?
The Year in Industry scheme at Centrica was an exceptional experience and I got exposure to a huge range of business functions. I was given a lot of freedom with steering my placement into an area I wanted to develop and the experience I gained not only set me apart when applying for graduate schemes and jobs but also made my third year of study back at university a lot easier as I used a lot of the knowledge I had gained on my placement.
What one piece of advice you would offer?
Take yourself out your comfort zone, you'll be surprised by how much you can learn.