Alex graduated from university unsure on what to do next. Having just completed the graduate scheme at E.ON UK, Alex reveals how interesting his journey has been. Find out why he loves the diversity in the energy and utilities sector and how working in HR has helped him learn and develop at a fast pace.
Alex Lowe, HR Consultant, E.ON UK
What do you do and where do you do it?
My current role is a generalist HR consultant that I secured after finishing the graduate scheme. I will service all of E.ON’s support functions (Marketing, Finance, procurement, etc.) in any HR projects or larger pieces of work outside standard HR administration. My stakeholders are split between Nottingham and Coventry so I spend half my time at either location.
What does an average day consist of?
A lot of HR Consultants jobs are responding to adhoc requests, which can form into larger projects, which makes it difficult to have a standard day. I do have a lot of meetings with stakeholders as this is core to the role, which mostly take place in our offices or via phone.
Which parts of the job do you enjoy most/ find most rewarding?
Being out in the business and talking to my stakeholders and understanding how I can service them as internal customers. Although it is an office role, it is definitely not being stuck in front of a computer. A lot of the time it is problem solving, negotiating and project managing.
“I’ve felt very trusted and pushed to do roles and projects that I don’t have previous experience in.”
What degree did you do? What made you choose it?
I did a History Undergraduate and an internal Human Resources Masters. I think taking History was a mistake and I did it purely because I wasn't sure what else to do. If I had a better idea of what jobs were available to me, like HR, I would have done this at undergraduate level. I really enjoyed my masters and it helped me to apply for the E.ON graduate scheme.
What attracted you to join the energy and utilities sector?
I don’t think I actively sought out the energy sector and I definitely didn’t think it would be as interesting as it currently is. In my particular role I don’t feel like I work for a utility company as the stakeholders I work with are in my office based roles. But that’s what I think the appeal of the energy sector is, as we move away from purely energy generation it feels like several different companies in one. We have a retail business that sells energy, an engineering one that generates it and a tech firm that’s creating innovative solutions.
What do you think of the career prospects? Have you had much training and development?
The career prospects are good, I’ve just off-boarded into a role that external candidates would be required to have a lot more experience. There is a trust and a learning culture but with the idea that you’ll upskill quickly and start delivering.
In regards to training, it’s less about formal training these days as it isn’t actually as effective as just learning by doing. I’ve felt very trusted and pushed to do roles and projects that I don’t have previous experience in.
Would you recommend your job to a friend and why?
It’s varied and gives you a good foundation of knowledge. I don’t feel like I’m boxed in to being an energy sector employee and instead just someone with a lot of well-rounded knowledge now. I think from the more support functions/office based perspective this role can provide a lot more than expected.