The first few days here were manic! I loved every second. It was very intense but equally exciting; there were great people to be with and some fantastic opportunities. The scheme differs from others in that it features role rotation and a general and more rounded approach to development – more on-the-job and less classroom-based. There are opportunities to get really hands-on and also exposure to senior management from day one.
My current role is the day-to-day management of our transport operation landside and airside. It involves the welfare and performance management of four team managers directly and 150 drivers. There’s been such breadth and substance to the roles I get to perform. At 23, managing 150 people, is daunting but pretty cool.
I start the week with a weekly review of performance – focusing on punctuality and delays. As the week goes on, I monitor performance and tackle issues on the day but also work on continuous improvement initiatives like regulatory changes and strategic operational projects. I liaise regularly with other departments and external stakeholders to maintain a customer-focused operation. Alongside this, I ensure and enforce performance management issues like absence and attendance are being resolved and promote a high performing culture.
In my previous role, the most challenging thing I’ve done was around operating contingency, which included establishing an end-to-end volunteer process and infrastructure from scratch, to support Cabin Crew. There were tight deadlines, lots of pressure to succeed and a real logistical headache recruiting, communicating, allocating and transporting a host of volunteers in different roles from 04.00 to 23.00 seven days a week!
Clearly leadership, resilience, time management and prioritisation, project management and people management are key skills. You also need to be someone who can rise above the trials and tribulations that are part and parcel of working for a high profile organisation, and really deliver for colleagues and customers alike. This takes drive, enthusiasm and at times a little bit of courage.
I still am yet to work in the Commercial area which is what I really would like to do and could see myself there in a few years. Until then I’ll carry on loving the unpredictability, the variety and the people here. We’re working towards being even more customer-focused while we’re in a period of transition which all graduates are at the forefront of shaping.
My line managers and peers have been great, and are helping me to develop and hone management and leadership skills. At the same time I’m working for a British blue chip company that’s known the world over and offers unparalleled international opportunities.