Ever wondered what the 1st year graduates get up to at Siemens? Well, I am not sure about everybody else, but what I can do is talk about my experience.
When I started here at Siemens, I wondered “How the hell did I do that?, How did I, get onto the Siemens Graduate scheme?” They must see something in me that I have yet to see in myself. Either way I’m sure I am not the only one who may have thought this. Even so, I am extremely happy and grateful to be starting my engineering career with such an amazing company.
When I started the scheme I only had an overview of what my year might entail and chatting to seasoned graduates I still wasn’t overly sure. If that’s the case, was there any other new graduates in the same boat? Has anyone documented and spoken about their year on the programme before for all to see? With these questions brewing in my mind I tried to answer some of them but I had no luck. That being the case, I decided to share what I have learned about the Siemens scheme along with some of my experiences from this year.
So, here it goes.
Siemens offered me a 2-year Graduate Development Programme (GDP) with a total of 4 different rotations. Each rotation is about 5 to 6 months and is there to give me an overall view and understanding of how that part of the business works and operates.
The Training and development
Siemens certainly doesn’t hold back on training. On top of the rotations, the GDP also offers a solid programme of modules which are designed to enhance my core and soft skills.
In this first year I have completed courses such as:
- Project Management Fundamentals which is an accredited course with the APM.
- Team Building, where we learned to solve problems with one another before and after getting our results from the prism test and understanding how each of us work.
- Business Influencing, which I think is one of the most useful courses I have taken thus far. You can use it everywhere!
- Virtual Mentee, basically tells you how to be the ideal mentee to your mentor.
- Customer Communication, shows you how to deal with conflict and understand how to defuse a situation for different personality types.
- Career Planning, helped me identify my strengths and how I can sell myself.
In addition to these, I have also completed other courses which are tailored towards the division I am working in, in my case Smart Infrastructure. For instance, I have completed:
- BCM01 Fundamentals of HVAC & Building Technology
- Safe Isolation
- BS5839, Part 1 2017 (which is the British Standard for fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings)
- Agile Ways of Working
- CDM (Construction Design Management)
- Social Selling and Blogging
And the list of courses keeps growing!
At the Beginning
When I started I found out that I was the only graduate in Smart Infrastructure. I must admit it felt slightly lonely in the beginning. Yes everyone was really nice, helpful and welcoming but sometimes all you want is someone to talk to who is going through the same situation as yourself. This is where I feel Siemens knows what they are doing. Because in the first couple of weeks of starting, Siemens threw an “Aspire” event where all the new graduates across all the divisions and disciplines could come together and meet. It was through this event that I didn’t feel so alone and that I met some other amazing people. One of which I meet fairly regularly to discuss what we are doing in our rotations and if there is any cross collaborations we help one another. Plus it’s a good chance to catch-up and have a good chit chat.
My 1st Rotation: BPS (Building Performance & Sustainability)
During this Rotation I was an honorary Superhero, saving the world one building at a time!
Here I was given the opportunity to work with an amazing team and shadow the Energy Solutions Engineers through different project stages.
The very first project that I was involved with was at Siemens Congleton Manufacturing site where they mainly build drivers. There, we proposed our Total Energy Management solution of “Reduce, Produce & Procure” along with implementing the Navigator solution with circa 100 meters that allow future interface with MindSphere.
One of the best parts about this project was seeing first hand the cross collaboration BPS has with our colleagues in the DES (Distributed Energy Systems) and P&G (Power & Gas) divisions to implement the most energy efficient gas engine on this site so that Congleton could be mostly self-sufficient. Making it the first manufacturing building in the UK to be completely carbon neutral.
My 2nd Rotation: Sales
The sales team got me involved in customer meetings which was a great way to learn how best to interact with different sets of people, this also involved a fair amount of travel to which I was grateful as I go to get out and away from the desk. I was also involved with a bid process for a significant account and man is that stressful and complicated! Thank god for the marketing team though. They are the ones who get everything in order for the bid and do all the significant research.
This was a fascinating rotation which gave me a new appreciation of the sales team and what they go through. For something so sporadic there is certainly a significant amount of structure and paperwork associated to it.
One key thing they taught me is that in sales they don’t just sell a product they sell a solution. This resonates with what I was initially taught in BPS. (It’s good to see the thought is spreading!) Basically this means that instead of selling something to that customer because that’s what they think they need. We help and guide them to understand the true meaning of the issues they wish to overcome; be it energy efficiency, fire safety, security, etc… And create their ideal solution. Even if that means less money for us!
However, watching the team conduct their daily business I have noticed that to be a sales person you need to have a certain set of qualities, such as:
- Being competitive.
- Having the drive to succeed.
- Having a back bone.
- But most importantly being a people person because its all about the relationships that you make with your customers.
I unfortunately do not have them all.
On top of my day to day work I have to allocate a minimum of a week towards volunteering activities. So, I chose some of the best ones!
The Big Bang Fair At this event I got to inspire the next generation towards STEM activities but most importantly I got to talk to them and show them how awesome engineering can be. It was also a great way to meet and chat with other colleagues in Siemens but also other engineers from different companies.
The Next Big Thing Challenge For 3 months I had the privilege to mentor a group of year 8’s who were given the challenge design and program a piece of technology (a Raspberry Pi with a Sense HAT), be it wearable or not, to help people live independently. Having never used a Raspberry Pi or coded using Python before, my task was to understand the basics. So that I could help teach the kids what they needed to know to create what they had in their imagination. I’m really proud of them and what they achieved as they came 3rd with their innovative idea.
Goodwood Festival of Speed This year I got to support the event by manning the hydrogen fuel cell exhibit as well as the ’79 VW BullE Camper to promote Siemens’ energy capabilities. I was also asked to be a “Rove Reporter” to go around the festival and document on social media all that was fun, inspiring and relevant to Siemens.
Unlike most I jump at every opportunity that comes my way, especially if it helps promote female engineers. Because the more we speak up, the more it will become normality!
I started off short and sweet with a small quote that was shared on social media.
And have now been upgraded to the new graduate brochure which is not yet out, but watch this space because who knows where else I might tip up.
What I’ve learned
Every day, every rotation is different and all you can do is go with the flow. Be flexible and intuitive. Don’t be afraid to ask the stupid questions! I did all the time because it helped me understand better what it was I needed to do.
Always ask what the acronyms mean because they just keep on coming! I think I am up to 400 now, and have had to create an excel spreadsheet to keep on top of them.
Have fun! Get involved with what interests you.
This first year has made me think a lot about my future and what I would like to do with it. It’s a big decision deciding what I want to be when I grow up. But, I am 100% certain that I want to be an Energy Engineer because it is something that I am truly passionate about. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be a superhero in training!
What did I do about it?
Well, I have 1 year left of my Graduate Development Programme and with a clear view of what I would like to do, I went to the Head of BPS and asked if I could join their team once I have finished the scheme. He took me a side, looked my straight in the eye and asked if this was what I truly wanted, trying to measure my commitment and sureness I suppose. Either way my answer was ever only going to be “yes”. With that he was delighted and thrilled and offered me a position which is not yet defined.
With this news, I told my line manager (who is in charge of my scheme) that this is where I want to go once my scheme is up and that the Head of BPS was onboard. That being said, he has now tailored the rest of my graduate scheme towards it.
With this new direction, my next rotation will be in Project Management working on projects associated with BPS. Ending with my final rotation being my future role as an Energy Engineer and I can’t wait.
Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”Oprah Winfrey