Zainab is currently studying Economics at Manchester Metropolitan University and is in her third year placement.
What is your favourite thing about your internship?
One of my favourite things is the opportunity to learn from working industry professionals, this allows me to pick up valuable working skills such as how to interact in a professional environment - a skill which can go a long way in terms of building professional relationships and networking. Also, I really enjoy having the opportunity to work across different teams in the engineering department as I am given quite a lot of flexibility to tailor my internship to my own development needs –this allows me to work on a wide variety of projects. I find this really helps in becoming more adaptable and picking up new knowledge.
I also really enjoy that I can gain a new perspective on a well-established company like United Utilities. My internship has really enhanced my view of what it is like to work in a big reputable company and all the opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to access.
What is your favourite thing about working at United Utilities?
The working environment is always positive and encouraging, mostly as a result of all my colleagues being really welcoming and sharing a common goal. It makes interning at United Utilities that much more enjoyable - to be in an environment that incentivises innovative working and prosperity. My efforts and hard work are always recognised.
The main office in Warrington is also a really nice place to work, especially when it is sunny and you can sit by the mere - not to mention the company perks!
Why did you want to do an internship at United Utilities?
As well as being a well-recognised company, I think United Utilities has admirable company-wide values such as their commitment to reach net zero by 2030 and helping the wider environment where they can. They also have a large emphasis on wellbeing. I do think it is a great advantage to intern and learn in a company that shares my own conscious values.
How has your internship helped your degree?
Although my degree is in economics, my internship has helped me develop lots of specific skills like web skills, including Excel and PowerPoint in a professional manner, which are essential skills to have in economics. I have already learnt how to produce professional PowerPoints of industry standard and valuable Excel skills for organising data. Report writing and researching is another thing I’ve been able to greatly improve during my internship which of course are excellent skills for all degrees.
I have also been able to develop my team work and management skills and having the opportunity to hone these skills in a business environment has given me a superior edge to the applicability of these skills.
What does your day at work look like?
Normally, I will schedule my day around whatever meetings I have so I will usually check those a few days prior so I know which pieces of work I need to complete first. On the two days I usually go into the offices, I get the train into Warrington and then the free business park bus to the office. I will then find my desk, sit down, log on and answer any emails I may have and then get started on any work I have been tasked with. I normally take lunch at around 12:00 - I’ll either bring my own or buy something warm from the food hall or Costa like a jacket potato. After lunch, I might chat to a few of my colleagues before sitting down and resuming work. I usually then have some in person meetings in the boardroom or Teams meetings to attend, until getting the bus back to the train station and going home.
During your internship, what work are you most proud of?
The work that stands out to me the most would probably be helping build and organise online industry web pages for my team, I also co-wrote a research paper in low carbon concrete for the United Utilities carbon team and finally I developed, created and presented weekly team meetings to update team progress.
After your experience at United Utilities, would you consider looking for a permanent role after you have finished your degree?
Yes, definitely. I have thoroughly enjoyed working for United Utilities during my internship and I think it would be a great place to come back and develop further. The working environment is really employee positive so I think it is a really great space to work in, not to mention the employee benefits. Having worked with a graduate engineer as well, I can see how good the graduate scheme is and would love to be a part of it.