Depending on which programme you choose, you could find yourself at one of a number of exciting locations across the UK.
Most students end up in locations that are new to them, which means new experiences and new friends. See how some of our previous summer placement students got on below.
At Barrow we were based at the gas terminals operated by Centrica Energy Upstream. Being placed in Barrow turned out to be a great opportunity, especially as we were provided for extremely well with 10-week hotel accommodation (including three meals per day!) and a car to get to work.
The work itself was both interesting and challenging for the two of us as electrical & instrumentation and chemical & process engineers. At the gas terminals there was the opportunity to work out on site with shift engineers as well as work in the production offices, giving a fantastic overview of what goes on at Barrow.
Barrow-in-Furness itself is right beside the Lake District but also only one hour from Lancaster or two from Manchester. This means that the location is great for a variety of activities such as climbing England's highest mountain or going out in one of England's best student towns.
I did my summer placement for Centrica Energy at the Barry power station near Cardiff. I was placed in ideal accommodation, staying at the Cardiff University halls of residence, which is a five-minute walk to the city centre.
Working in this power station has been a fantastic learning experience. The people on site have been very helpful and polite. Barry power station is a very sociable place, comprising about 31 staff during normal operation. By the end of the 10 weeks you know everyone and they know you.
The other graduate engineers were also very friendly and sociable. We would meet after work for a beer at least once a week and every two weeks or so we would have a night out with all the staff. It was a great experience.
For my placement in Bradford, I lived in accommodation in Leeds. The accommodation was great and really central for everything you could need. I really enjoyed living there; it's a brilliant city and doesn't take long to feel settled there.
I didn't have a car so I travelled by public transport to the office in Bradford. First by train and then a short bus journey. The journey is straight forward with frequent trains and buses and took approx 1 hour from door to door. I was initially worried about the commute but I actually quite enjoyed it!
The Bradford office is not glamorous but the people are great and I was overwhelmed with how friendly and welcoming everyone was. It's relatively small and open plan so it's easy to get to know everyone quickly and understand how the different teams work together.
The office is located on an industrial estate and there is nowhere other than a Greggs to buy lunch so it's a good idea to bring lunch with you as you may quickly get sick of eating Greggs!
Even though I was the only placement student in Bradford, I have still made great friends during the 10 weeks. There is still plenty of opportunity to socialise with other summer placement students through the charity challenge and Centrica welcome days.
My experience on the placement has been so varied and interesting; I was given plenty of support and responsibility to work on important tasks from day 1. I have definitely strengthened my employability skills during the placement and as a result I feel more prepared for the world of work!
Following the two-day induction in Windsor, I made my way to my placement location: the British Gas Premier Energy office in Cardiff city centre.
This was my first ever trip to Cardiff and only my second to Wales. At first I was concerned about being stuck in what I viewed as ‘the sticks’, and not with the rest of the marketing students. However, having had the chance to experience Cardiff properly my opinion has changed radically and I would now recommend Cardiff to anyone who has not had the chance to experience it.
The city boasts a vast array of shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, all of which are within easy walking distance of both the British Gas office and my accommodation. Moreover, sharing my accommodation with another two placement students means that there is still plenty of opportunity to socialise and take advantage of such a prime location.
After my initial scepticism about being placed outside of the central offices I now feel very fortunate to have had the chance to live and work in an entirely new city. Cardiff really is a fantastic place to live and work as, although it is a lively capital city, it also has a very local feel to it. This experience has opened my eyes to the opportunities that exist to work outside of London and the southeast (my home turf) and I now feel confident that I could easily adapt to life in a completely new city if required to do so again.
Despite living little more than an hour away, I only had a sketchy knowledge of Edinburgh before my placement. Living and working in the city quickly changed that!
I was based in the PAYGE headquarters; a striking office with an open, non-hierarchical layout, meaning it was easy to network and get to know everyone. I enjoyed being part of the team rather than an intern; those around me were more than willing to reciprocate with their time, and this was a key enabler of my project.
As I write it is raining heavily but believe it or not I've enjoyed many a warm day during my summer! As a tourist Mecca there is always something to do, rain or shine, and the city transforms in August for the world famous Fringe Festival. Accommodation becomes gold dust during this month so having an expensed apartment was another highlight.
I would recommend Edinburgh to anyone; whilst your role here may be completely different to mine I can promise that you will meet some great people, experience a unique city and enhance your employability to boot!
When we first received our engineering placement projects and locations from our line manager we, like most people, thought, “never heard of Hedon; where is it?”
Both of us are from the sunny southwest and were initially quite daunted about living in the north, but we were quickly dumbfounded as everyone was very welcoming. It gave us a great opportunity to explore a different city and landmarks such as the famous Humber Bridge, once was the longest suspension bridge in the world and still longer than the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
The first thing we learnt at the office is that Hedon is pronounced “head-on” rather than “heed-on” and that it is located on the outskirts of Hull. Fortunately, Centrica provided accommodation in the University of Hull’s halls of residence that is based in the centre of the city. This was really useful as it gave us a good foothold in a new place and was also not been too bad on our bank balances! The halls are walking distance from the centre of town where there are lots of local amenities, such as cinemas, pubs and the Princes Quay shopping centre.
The Hedon office was really friendly and had a great atmosphere. Being part of Centrica Storage the office has retained its small business feel and it has an open layout so you really can approach anyone for a chat, senior managers included! It was also fantastic how the whole office got behind us to support us in our charity challenge, a sponsored bike ride from Hedon to Windsor and Staines.
Being from South Africa, now living in Scotland and having worked in somewhat obscure locations across the world such as China, I am no stranger to settling into new locations.
Even with this background, along with the added pressure of potentially starting a career, the thought of settling in, becoming involved and forming relationships whilst delivering valued work seemed daunting in the timescale given.
Coming down to Heysham I found the support network provided extremely good. The experience of working here not only exposed me to another city I would not otherwise have seen but opened me up to a whole new range of experiences I would not have had.
Lancaster is a small city with tons of character and working at Heysham has allowed me to obtain a good overview of Centrica Energy Upstream operations. Even if I do not return to Heysham the experience left me more employable for the future, developed my skills and provided an enjoyable summer.
During the 2010 Centrica Summer placement programme, I spent 10 weeks working in the Power Generation business unit in Killingholme in northeast Lincolnshire.
Having moved location frequently in the past two years since moving out my parents’ home – Sweden, Dundee, Glasgow, Killingholme and soon Tokyo – I had no problems with relocating. If I had, however, Centrica couldn’t have made it an easier adjustment with homely accommodation all paid and taken care of.
There were only three of us in the Grimsby area but we got on really well and socialised with many people inside and outside the stations.
I was placed in the Customer Operations stream in the Newbridge House office in Leeds. I am originally from Ireland, then moved to Canada and finally came to the University of Durham in England so I am used to moving round and settling in new places! Being placed in Leeds was great as I knew it was a lively city before I arrived.
Our accommodation was in Leeds city centre so there was always something to do. Leeds is very vibrant and compact with all the amenities only a short walk away: we lived a stone’s throw from the shopping centres, the cinemas and restaurants.
Although there were only three of us based in Leeds, it was great socially and we had cinema trips, nights out and road trips to name a few! Being able to share this experience with like-minded individuals was brilliant and it meant we had a good support network when we needed it.
The office environment was great at Leeds too. Everyone was really friendly and available to help me with my work. The employees were approachable and were all interested in the project I was doing.
Leeds was a great place to potentially start my career, and I found the opportunity to live in a new city very exciting.
Over the 10-week summer placement I was based in Leicester. This was the first time I had ever lived away from my home in Scotland and I was slightly anxious about being over 300 miles away.
Any anxieties quickly disappeared on my arrival. The accommodation Centrica provided was of the highest quality. The other Summer placement students based here were all friendly as well and we were able to spend time together experiencing what Leicester has to offer. Whether watching the World Cup together, going on nights out, heading to the cinema or even just going for a meal, we managed to have a really good time.
I also had the pleasure of working in the Spinneyside offices. Again on arrival I was greeted by friendly people, all of whom were happy to help me settle in quickly. The atmosphere was also very relaxed allowing you to complete any work in a stress-free environment to the best of your ability.
I believe I have had a valuable experience living in Leicester. I met some fantastic people and have more confidence in my employability skills. I would encourage anyone who was thinking of applying to the scheme to do so as it is a worthwhile way to spend your summer.
For my summer placement I was based at the National Distribution Centre (NDC) in Leicester. Some might think that being outside of Staines or Windsor would be a downside, however, I think that we were very lucky with where we were placed.
I arrived to find stellar accommodation very near the city centre, which was a great place to spend any downtime. Having a smaller group of students to live with over the summer meant that we all got to know each other quite well in a short period and we made the most out of the summer by going out together, whether it be for a casual evening out, watching the World Cup or having a barbeque.
Working at the NDC was also a fantastic experience. I was chosen to undertake a project that was perfectly suited to my background, and was lucky enough to work with some amazing and friendly staff who showed me how a company as large as British Gas provides support in such a variety of ways. My favourite part was seeing the seven-storey tall robots shoot across the shop floor, which really showed me the complex workings that go on to maintain customer service and employee support levels at a blue-chip industry.
Despite being by myself at the NDC (which was only a two-minute walk from Spinneyside), working there gave me some invaluable experience, and the friendly staff made me feel like a fellow employee as opposed to a summer placement. With a lot of communication and responsibility, this summer developed my skills and employability beyond what I had expected, and I was lucky enough to spend it with fantastic people, both in and out of work.
Living and working in Manchester was great. It’s a brilliant city with loads going on and my accommodation was just five minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Gardens. Every morning I made the short walk through the city centre to the station and jumped on the tram out to Trafford. The buzz of the city was something that I really liked and the office was only a 20-minute journey away.
The Manchester office can be found on Talbot Road a couple of minutes from Old Trafford – the Manchester United and Lancashire Cricket ground. It was really lively and everyone was very welcoming. There was a really diverse mixture of people so you’ll be sure to find people with the same interests as you. Being in Manchester definitely made my experience with Centrica even better and I’d recommend it to anyone.
After moving to Scotland from America five years ago, I still had no idea what it was like to live in England. When I found out I was based in Oldbury, I immediately looked it up in Wikipedia and Google Maps. It's less than 20 minutes away from Birmingham, which is extremely convenient for commuting purposes. I had never been to Birmingham before, and didn't really know what to expect! I realised that many people were in the same boat as me which made it easy to be able to have the connections to travel to all the different places around the country.
Halfway through my placement and more knowledgeable about the area, I spend my spare time at the Bullring, allocating my earnings on either paying off my student fees, or at the endless shops the centre has to offer. I am a bit of a nerd, and have gone to the museum at least three times so far on the weekends. You are never, ever out of things to do here in 'Brum', as the locals call it. I live 15 minutes walk away from the town centre as well, or it's easily accessible by bus if it's pouring rain outside!
To take the bus into the Oldbury office is only 40 minutes so that certainly makes it easy since the bus stops and picks you up right outside the office. The building itself is incredible, if it's not the massive atrium where you eat your lunch or drink your tea then it's the floors decked out in an array of bright colours that will amaze you. The people here as just as fantastic, warm and welcoming and will always be able to answer your questions or point you in the right direction. Oldbury is a great location, being a little over an hour from London or to Manchester, travelling to the other businesses and meeting all the other placement students is never out of reach.
The Oldbury office is a fantastic place to work. It is easily located by driving or by using public transport. The office itself is a sleek bright building, where there are numerous hubs in which to work, which inspire creativity.
My experience in Oldbury has been with the Electrical Services Division, where the pace is sublime. This is the place where new technology meets our residential customers; our engineers could be installing Electrical Vehicle charge points to wiring a solar panel to a roof. The entire team work to ensure that we deliver our promises to our customers. The roles' come with real reasonability; the project that I am working on has a current value to the business of £750,000.
The accommodation its self is clean and modern. Should you wish to leave the accommodation, then the main shopping area is a ten minute walk, here you will find a full high street and the bullring shopping complex. Another five minute walk and you will find the bars and clubs.
Working in Oxford was really exciting and interesting, both in and out of the office, as I had never been to the city and never had any experience in customer operations.
Oxford is a nice place to live and our accommodation was very central, which made it easy to get into town, where there was loads to do, including pubs, cinemas and lots of choice in places to eat. The offices weren’t too far away either so getting to work was fairly straightforward.
Even though there was just one other summer intern in Oxford it was very sociable, with some of the graduates and other colleagues based there. Everyone was very friendly. It was also very helpful to be close to Centrica’s headquarters, with Windsor only an hour away, so it wasn’t too far to travel to the range of events held there over the internship.
Overall it was excellent living in a different city and meeting lots of new people.
I knew before I got placed that I would be in a fairly remote location as power stations are rarely found in lively locations. I came from Strathclyde University in Glasgow and spent my 10-week placement in a local hotel in Habrough near South Humber Bank Power Station.
This was a big change to adapt to but Centrica made it as easy as possible by providing dinner, bed and breakfast (which was lucky as the majority of other placement students had self-catering accommodation).
The power station itself is considered the flagship Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plant for Centrica. It is the largest CCGT plant that Centrica owns and is amongst the highest-earning stations in the country.
I was based within the maintenance team and I had an absolutely great time. The team members were really friendly and were keen to answer any questions I had, which was a lot, especially at the beginning of my placement. There are around 70 employees on site and a lot more contractors. The management team were really accessible and provided me with a lot of feedback in regards to my project.
I can honestly say that I really enjoyed my time at South Humber Bank, despite being quite apprehensive about its remote location. It allowed me to develop my employability skills further by interacting with a lot of different companies and management levels.
Living over 200 miles from the office and accommodation in Surrey, I was initially a little anxious about moving down from the rather quiet hub of rural Yorkshire to the bright lights of the south. However, within the first five minutes of moving into the accommodation I felt quite at home.
The other summer placement students really helped the settling in process both in and out of the office. Outside of work we went on nights out and even had a day out to Thorpe Park. Being in a new location gave me and the other Summer placement students the opportunity to explore a completely new area.
Within the office at Staines, I was really overwhelmed with how helpful and friendly all the employees were. From kitchen staff to senior managers, nothing but respect and encouragement was given. This environment means that Summer placement students are not treated as interns who go and do the photocopying or get the mid-morning coffees; but rather we were given real responsibility to achieve tasks for real deadlines. While this may seem daunting, the friendly and relaxed atmosphere at Staines made these tasks both achievable and enjoyable.
During the 10 week summer placement we were based at British Gas Stockport. To both of us a move to the North and in particular to Stockport at first appeared daunting. However, our initial reservations quickly disappeared due to the welcoming and friendly environment at British Gas.
The Stockport office is divided in Service and Repair (S&R) and Central Heating Installations (CHI), and its main work is based around the two call centres operating within. The teams work in a fast paced environment to ensure that all visits are carried out promptly and effectively, while also optimising sales opportunities and dealing with any emergency or break down requests. We were based in different functional parts of the office and our roles in both S&R and CHI were very varied and challenging. From day one we were given a lot of responsibility and endless opportunities to develop and get involved in different areas of the business.
Our life outside of the office was great, too. We were provided with student accommodation in the centre of Manchester and were lucky to be put in a flat with other interns or students with which to explore the city. Also, living in the city centre we had a countless number of opportunities to go out, socialise and relax after work! Manchester is a vibrant and exciting city and the accommodation was within short walking distance of Manchester Piccadilly train station and the main shopping, bar and restaurant areas. This meant that getting to work was simple with a short and direct trip on the train to Stockport.
Overall, the summer placement experience in Stockport and Manchester was great. Both of us felt that we learnt a lot about British Gas and the Centrica business in general, and took pride in contributions we made to the company.
Having initially assumed Uddingston was somewhere just outside of London, you could imagine my surprise when I found myself heading for the cultural capital of Glasgow!
I really enjoyed the whole experience. Living in Strathclyde University halls of residence allowed me to meet some great people and explore the city centre, just a few minutes’ walk away. Glasgow is a hub for entertainment with a plethora of bars, restaurants and gig venues, and the option of heading into the highlands to experience the natural beauty that Scotland has to offer.
The Uddingston office was a very relaxed and friendly place, and from the first day I was made to feel welcome. The open plan office means everyone from colleagues to senior management is accessible and always happy to help. I’d definitely recommend the placement, though I’d say a car is advisable due to the distance to work, and also some waterproof gear!
I think it’s great that Centrica provides its interns with paid accommodation throughout the entire placement.
I was based in Windsor and living with other like-minded interns made it enjoyable as we were able to share a social environment. It allowed us to discuss challenges at work and learn from each other. Living together also meant being able to explore a new area, which resulted in days out to Thorpe Park and even a music festival one weekend!
The accommodation was fab and I even had my room serviced and cleaned once a week! We were close to local amenities such as restaurants, cinema and the gym, all of which offered great ways to be relax outside of work.
We were also located near the offices so the commute was simple and stress free. Overall I had a fantastic time living away with other interns and have made some new and interesting friends.
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