Gerry McDonnell - The Enterprise Business

Added: 11th October 2018 by SSE

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Name: Gerry McDonnell

Job: Mechanical Design Engineer

Please can you tell us about yourself and your role at SSE?

I joined SSE’s graduate programme 2 years ago after completing a mechanical engineering degree at Strathclyde University. I originally started in SSE Generation where I undertook a number of different placements. These included working on the design development of a new build power station, working on site for 4 months at an operational CCGT plant and I also worked with performance team which provides technical support to the entire SSE generation fleet. These experiences were a great introduction to the energy industry and provided a steep learning curve for me.

I have since taken up a permanent role within SSE Enterprise. The Enterprise business aims to develop innovative solutions to build, operate and maintain energy and communications infrastructure in the UK and is comprised of Utilities, Rail, Telecoms, Contracting and the Energy Solutions Group. My role as a Mechanical Design Engineer (within Utilities - Heat Networks) requires me to review district heating systems which the business is looking to potentially adopt and operate. It is my job to ensure the system will operate safely, efficiently and provide a reliable source of heat for the customers. I have really enjoyed the role so far as I look to build my knowledge of the technology and the market of what is sure to be a major part of the future UK energy mix.

What other opportunities does SSE Enterprise offer?

Enterprise offers the most diverse range of opportunities within SSE. Many of these verticals are expanding fast and are actively seeking to recruit graduates to support their continued growth. The wide range of programmes available offer learning opportunities in mechanical and electrical engineering, project management, bid management, financial modelling, resource planning and many more.

What other benefits does the SSE graduate programme provide?

The graduate schemes within Enterprise are an opportunity for you to join an exciting business which is exploring fast growing areas of the energy market. These are aspects of the industry which may also have a shortage of engineering skills so joining now will ensure you have plenty of opportunities in your future career. The dedicated Graduate Programme Manager ensures you are getting the full benefits of the scheme, your placements are providing you with ample learning opportunities and will then guide you towards a permanent role within the business.

I have also started progressing towards chartership with the IMechE on the Monitored Professional Development Scheme – this is a structured programme which helps you keep track of your development and projects which will ultimately enable you to get CEng status. The MPDS is only available at certain companies and SSE is fully accredited.

What advice would you give to any students that would like to apply to join the SSE Graduate Programme?

Always make sure you do your research on the company; look at our website and search for news that reports SSE’s latest movements in the industry. Try and find what most interests you about what the company is doing (we do much more than renewables) and come up with good questions to ask at the interview stage. Try and think of questions to ask which you can’t find the answer online, whether they are technical or not.

Proper preparation for competency interviews is essential. Research all of the different questions you could be asked and try to think of at least 5 or 6 situations (from university, part time jobs, internships or other) which you had a direct impact on the outcome. For example, this could be a time you led a sports team or a project during an internship and your input was crucial in achieving a target set out for you. Match each situation to a core competence; leadership, teamwork, creativity etc. You will also often find you can adapt the same situation to different questions. Make sure you are familiar with the STAR method of answering these questions and practice your answers until you can say them out loud without referring to notes.

Always be confident, don’t undersell you experience or abilities and ask plenty of questions – interviews are a two way process.

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