• Mishel Mutenure
  • Helen Dalgleish
  • Adriana Rodriguez Cobas
  • Shirley Robertson
Mishel Mutenure, Technical Staff Trainee, Portsmouth

“Through sponsorship of events such as the Women’s FA Cup Final, we can bring SSE to the forefront of people’s minds”

I am currently on the SSE Technical Staff Trainee (TST) programme. It is a 3 year programme and I’m just about to start my final year, which is very exciting! It’s a great opportunity that I’d recommend to anyone, even if you’re not considering a career in engineering, as you get such a broad view of the company. It’s opened my eyes to the diverse number of jobs available at SSE – not all of them are down holes or climbing up electricity poles – there’s much more on offer. I’m naturally a very active person, so it’s great to be able to spend some of my working time outdoors but also some of it inside in a professional environment – it’s the best of both worlds.

Why SSE?

When I was at school, I came to SSE to complete a 2 week work experience programme, and this was my first introduction to the company and the energy industry. During the 2 weeks I got to spend time in a number of departments, to get a basic understanding of the company structure, what SSE does, and some of the career paths that exist. It was during my work experience that I heard about the TST programme, and was immediately keen to join. I was delighted to secure a place on the programme, and I’m enjoying the variety of activities and challenges I have been involved in so far.

What I do?

The programme has given me the opportunity to complete on-the-job training, whilst simultaneously studying for a University degree in Electrical Power Engineering. I have worked in a number of departments to get an appreciation of the different career paths available. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with fitters, jointers and linesmen, and typically I shadow a Team Leader so I can observe what they do, what they are responsible for and get hands-on experience of their job. I’ve been involved in some really interesting activities, from helping a Team Leader set up a new sub-station, to observing how we replace old switchboards with new ones. It really has opened my eyes to the breadth of opportunities and different career paths available to me.

How I got to where I am?

Prior to SSE, I had a few part-time jobs, but the programme is really my first step on the career ladder. I was always interested in a career in engineering, and so studied all of the appropriate subjects at school – maths, chemistry and physics were probably the most important. I think anyone who studies these subjects really can draw on their learnings and apply them to most careers here at SSE. I’ve been able to complete some on-the-job training such as my LV training and hope to complete by HV training this year. Once I’ve finished my 3rd year, I’ll be able to apply for any available vacancies within SSE.

Why I’m proud to be SSE?

I am always proud to say I work for SSE. Our brand is becoming more prominent, and I think it’s important for a large company to give back to the community. Outside of work, I’m quite sporty – I actually play hockey in my local league in Havant, so I’m always proud when I hear that we are involved in sponsoring sporting activities. Recently we have sponsored the Women’s FA Cup Final, which I think is great. Women don’t always think a career in engineering is right for them, but by sponsoring such events hopefully we can bring SSE to the forefront of people’s minds, and they can appreciate the variety of technical as well as professional career paths we can offer.

Helen Dalgleish, Mechanical Engineer, Keadby

“We have some great people working here, so it is essential we keep them safe”

I work as a Mechanical Engineer at our Keadby Power Station in Lincolnshire. I’ve been with SSE for over 9 years now, having initially joined on one of the Graduate Programmes in 2006. I currently work in one of SSE’s CHPE (Combined Heat and Power Energy) sites. I’ve had so many great experiences since joining, including the opportunity to go to Africa to see micro solar projects with the charity SolarAid and visit a hydro power station in Tanzania. This really broadened my view on life, and put into perspective the importance of energy – especially in a country where the infrastructure and quality of life is so vastly different from here in the UK.

Why SSE?

I joined SSE on the Generation business’ Graduate Programme – which was a great baptism of fire into the company. I got to work across a variety of business areas, including HR, Procurement, and Energy Trading plus I was able to work in our various Power Stations: hydro, wind and thermal. I learned so much during the 2 year programme, and the variety of opportunities on offer was a huge attraction to me when I applied. I’ve learned so much over the last few years, having moved from Hydro Engineer, to Planning Engineer and now Mechanical Engineer. I’ve also had two children, and have appreciated the flexibility SSE has given me so that I can still do my job, but also ensure I have the time to dedicate to my family. I even took my wee one with me on business trips – people thought I was bonkers but family is so important to me, that it worked for us.

What I do?

 In my current job, I have a number of key objectives I am required to deliver this year. One project is looking at developing the thermodynamics of putting a new combustion engine at a Plant. SSE is heavily focussed on safety, and another element of my position is rolling out Project Drive to some of the Thermal Generation team. Driving is one of the riskiest jobs in the UK, and a number of our employees are required to travel lots of miles for their roles. My responsibility is to ensure they have the support and guidance required to travel in the safest way, considering the risks of all journeys. A huge proportion of my job is working with people – and we really do have some great people here so it is essential we keep them safe.

How I got to where I am?

My two brothers and I liked STEM subjects at school and are all engineers. I studied Materials Science and Engineering as an undergraduate, worked for 3 years in the automotive industry then completed in MSc in Renewable Energy Systems Technology. SSE has supported me to gain Chartered status – it’s encouraged to professionalise our business. My educational background, coupled with the practical experience and business knowledge I’ve gained over the years has been essential in my development and progression.

Why I’m proud to be SSE?

I am so unbelievably proud to work for SSE. I think our brand isn’t as well known as it could be – but the new advertising campaign featuring Maya the orang-utan will hopefully help make us better known. I think we have a great customer service record and whenever I tell people I work for SSE, they often volunteer stories of the great service they’ve received. I can personally remember when we received a complaint from a customer at our Power Station – it was given immediate priority and everyone pulled together to ensure the customer was affected for the least possible time. It’s things like this that makes me proud to work here.

Adriana Rodriguez Cobas, Lead Development Manager

“It is encouraging to hear inspirational stories of how our people pull together during challenging times”

Hello, my name is Adriana and I work as a Lead Development Manager in the Relationship Management Development & Technical Solutions Team. My team sits in the Enterprise business of SSE and was set up around 18 months ago. SSE Enterprise is the business-to-business arm of SSE, working hard to gain new business customers, and developing our portfolio with existing business customers, offering a full suite of services that meet their needs.

Why SSE?

I joined SSE less than a year ago, so I’m quite new to the business. My background is in the oil and gas industry in management consulting, but was keen to move into utilities and energy services in a role more active on project implementation. SSE was the perfect choice for me, as we manage the full end-to-end energy process from generation through to supply and energy services. My team are also quite new and hugely diverse, as out of a team of 8 there are only 3 people who were born in the UK. This means there are different perspectives, skills, cultures, ways of working and new ideas all the time, so it can be a really exiting place to work.

What I do?

As a Lead Development Manager, I work very closely with the Enterprise businesses, to help bring various propositions to our customers. We provide a huge amount of services from lighting to private utility networks, and controls, and we try to join up our activities so we can provide an offering to our customers that is fit-forpurpose and meets the needs of their business. I spend time listening and understanding customer drivers and the opportunity areas that our businesses are interested in pursuing, and using these to structure propositions that are replicable and help Enterprise meet its growth targets. I also work very closely with the Relationship Management Technical Solutions, Commercial, Sales and Bids teams so that together we can develop a proposition that is not only commercially sound and attractive to the customers, but also viable.

How I got to where I am?

When I was young I always dreamed of being a lawyer, then ultimately taking up a role in the United Nations. I later chose a different career path that fitted my interest in translating and enabling lab-scale processes to be implemented at an industrial scale. I studied an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering, which enabled me to secure a management consulting role focused on the oil and gas industry. I then did a Masters Degree in Sustainable Energy to help me to transition to utilities and energy services. This degree was 50% business skills and 50% engineering skills and helped me to get closer to operations and implementing activities, as opposed to just strategizing. These skills were invaluable in helping me get my first proposition over the line at SSE, which was a great achievement. We were able to build and present a really compelling proposal to an existing customer, and I enjoyed experiencing first hand how writing a strategy, and planning for delivery could turn into a real project of work for our teams on the ground.

Why I’m proud to be SSE?

It is encouraging to work for a company where there is such a family feeling. Although my team is quite new, I continually hear people tell good stories about how colleagues work together to really make a difference. I often hear inspirational stories of how people pull together during challenging times, such as when we have bad storms and power failures, and critical delivery deadlines, so I look forward to being part of this over time. For now, my focus is on continually developing in my current role, ensuring we contribute and add value to the business and turn some of our innovative designs and project proposals into realities.

Shirley Robertson, Head of Standards, Specifications & Innovation, Glasgow

“I’m proud that we always consider the impact on environment and community, not just the bottom line”

I’ve been with SSE for 4 years now, working principally in engineering roles in our Networks’ Transmission business. When I tell people I’m a Civil Engineer, they picture me in a deep hole, wearing my hard hat in all kinds of weather. Sometimes that is the case but more often than not I can be found in business meetings, on telephone conferences or on site visits. I love the variety my job offers me. I would recommend a career in engineering to anyone as it really does open up so many different possibilities – from the more technical hands-on positions, to roles which are more officebased and involved in the planning and design of projects. Outside work, I can typically be found chauffeuring my kids around on the weekend, or enjoying quality time with my large family – I have 9 sisters and 5 brothers so there’s always something going on. I’m also a big music and dance fan. If I’m not singing along at a concert, I’m usually the first one on the dancefloor at a party!

Why SSE?

Before I joined SSE, I’ll be honest I didn’t know much about the organisation. I was looking to make a move from the water to the energy industry, and although the position I applied for was actually a bit of a step back, I don’t regret it for a minute as I was able to learn a huge amount on the job. Over time my team grew, and when this opportunity came up I was encouraged to apply by my line manager. I was a little unsure as I perhaps didn’t have as much experience in the energy sector as others, but I had other transferable skills which made me the best person for the job. I was assured that I’d have a team of technical specialists who would support me, meaning I could focus on driving forward the strategy and vision for the team. It’s been a hugely rewarding experience, and although I’ve now got a good grounding of the energy industry, I still enjoy learning new things every day.

What I do?

In my current role, I am responsible for a team of 6 people, and together we are developing a set of standards and specifications that will become a blueprint of best practice for our teams out in engineering and eventually out in the field to work to. We are working with a huge array of people to develop these blueprints, including other energy providers, the national grid and external experts to ensure they meet regulations, but also meet the needs of SSE. In addition to this, we are responsible for coming up with and developing new innovations, which is really exciting. These can be really “blue sky” ideas, or more practical things which will make us more efficient and effective. On a daily basis, I work with a range of stakeholders to make this happen; from the technical teams to procurement, from our contractors to suppliers. We need to ensure that any changes we make are fully considered and thought through, from a business, regulatory and environmental perspective. It’s a big responsibility, but we are well on the road to developing something that will have true business benefit in the long term.

How I got to where I am?

At school, I studied the necessary subjects to become a doctor, such as Maths and Sciences. Then one day we had a visit from a Civil Engineer whose explanation of what a career in engineering involved totally changed my mind. He explained that when a big disaster hits, such as the Tsunami, a Civil War or a disease outbreak, Civil Engineers are one of the first teams on the ground. Their role is to rebuild the infrastructure so that the country can actually function. Their roles ultimately save lives by providing clean water, sanitation and other essential services. This experience encouraged me to study Civil Engineering at University and work my way through various Civil Engineering and Project Engineering roles, which ultimately led me to where I am today. Looking to the future, I’m on the SSE Emerging Talent programme which has opened up many doors, so I look forward to continuing to grow my experience with SSE, and grasp any new challenges that arise.

Why I’m proud to be SSE?

Although we are a huge organisation with 20,000 employees, it often feels more like a big family who are committed to supporting one another to make things better for our customers and our people. This sense of responsibility is replicated in the work we do. We try to be a responsible employer, and we are very conscious that some of the big initiatives we design will impact the environment and the communities we operate in, so it is critical we are considerate of the environmental impact and impact on communities, not just the bottom line. I have personally been involved in such a project which involved the development of a new sub-sea cable in Shetland, and was given the responsibility of reviewing the potential cable route. Shetland is such a beautiful place, with people who cherish their way of life, and it is essential that this is at the front of our minds when we are making key business decisions.