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A personal view by Elle, Graduate Business Change Manager
My background is Psychology (BSc) and then I did a Masters in Human Resource Management. I am currently a graduate in change management, one of the two first ever graduates in that function at AWE.
You moved from another part of the UK to work at AWE. How did you find the move and adapting to the new surroundings?
I’ve done a fair bit of travelling and so for me being in a new country (England) strangely felt like second nature. I was also looking forward to a new adventure for a while, so this is certainly ticking that box.
In terms of the moving process, I was able to secure pretty easily a bedroom through the website Spareroom.co.uk. It was a really easy process and I actually found it much better than using letting agencies. I requested a video of the apartment from the landlord, which meant I didn’t have to spend hundreds of pounds going to England just to view the room.
As I had rented early on, I was able to move my belongings to England over a month previous to my final moving date. This helped me secure a positive mind frame about the move by having things organised well in advance.
I understand that moving at a slow pace may not be feasible for some, but I would recommend it for employees moving from further afield. Successfully adapting to the change, for me, meant allowing time to process it. Doing this meant that by the time I had finally moved into my new home it already felt familiar to me.
What about the application process?
All employees at AWE require security clearance of some level. Depending on the level of clearance you require for your role, it could be a lengthy application process. It’s worth researching this so you can plan accordingly in the months previous to employment.
As for the assessment day itself, AWE had the best on the day experience for me, in comparison to the couple others I attended. I’ve also recently attended a focus group with HR regarding the assessment centres. They are clearly engaged in improving this process for candidates, which is good to see.
What was it like settling in those first few weeks at AWE?
AWE organised a two day introductory session for the graduates, so I met graduates from a variety of disciplines. It’s been quite good for creating a bond between all of the new employees.
One thing that surprised me upon arrival is how big the AWE site is. When the time came for my first day of working, my manager collected my new colleague and I from the introductory session. This is something I found really helpful because AWE is such a big site and being collected from one point felt very welcoming.
I would advise graduates to take a walk around site and get familiar with what’s out there. A couple of us take runs around the site on a regular basis. Helps when you are going to meetings in lots of different buildings to understand where everything is.
To settle in, I’ve taken the time to introduce myself to a variety of people. If they have the time and you have a purpose, people are generally really happy to give you their time to talk about what they are working on. This allowed me to better understand the company, the culture and what projects are occurring around site, as well as creating a strong mutually beneficial professional network.
How are you finding adapting to the new ways of working?
I’ve arrived to the company at a fascinating time. Just as I’m starting to adapt to new ways of working, so is AWE. With new technology coming in and projects which will massively change the way we work on site, AWE is preparing to become a different world.
It feels like we are all preparing for big changes together. Being on the change team, my team will play a key role in helping the change occur. I feel really driven to contribute to helping this process as it’ll have such a huge effect on employees.
Did the company fit your expectations?
AWE is an unusual company and I didn’t know what to expect exactly. However I did expect to work hard and learn a lot. My colleague and I are the first ever graduates to be placed into the business change function. We are currently working with our team to create a comprehensive programme structure for ourselves that is tailored to not only what the business requires, but what we desire to achieve in our time here. Having my input considered for something that is going to affect me as much as this makes me feel valued here.
Learning more about what’s changing makes me more excited to come to work. I work on a variety of different things each day, a number of which I’ve been able to source myself through meetings with people within site.
What else do you want to say to potential graduates?
I would tell them that this is a unique environment. We are an ordinary company doing extraordinary things and that drives me each day to make a difference. If you are self-driven, engaged and passionate then AWE is the place for you. I see opportunities for interesting work each day.
Additionally, understand who you are and what you are good at. Always look for self-improvement and ways to develop competencies that will help you progress in your career. I am constantly analysing the tasks that I am doing and how they are helping me grow personally and professionally.
Finally and importantly, be yourself.
Apply now for graduate roles.