Simon, ensuring customers have continuity of gas supplies
Having joined Total as an apprentice, Simon’s abilities and determination secured him a role in procurement. Working on a trading floor at Canary Wharf in London, Simon is now responsible for ensuring that customers receive continuity of energy supplies and assisting them with the options available for their unique requirements and delivery periods.
What is better energy for customers?
“Our bigger customers have their own teams that compile data about pricing so, from my perspective, to advise them requires a lot of market knowledge and flexibility. It is a balancing act. Some customers are looking to buy enough gas to cover their needs for the next five years, others for what they need the next day. Our customers include the retail sector, supermarkets and manufacturers, so continuity of supply and pricing are crucial for them. Recommending what benefits customers environmentally is also important.
“Reacting to live market information or world events can be stressful. Uncertainty is bad for business confidence so the need is always to respond quickly and confidently to customers. That confidence comes from learning from colleagues and drawing on their vast market intelligence.”
What is the appeal of Total?
“I was keen to gain work experience and discover how a business operates from the inside so, when I heard about Total’s apprentice programme, I was very interested. It gave me the opportunity to work in a business environment and experience different departments. The appeal of Total was to benefit from being part of a multinational company, particularly as the apprenticeship programme was open to all, not only those with university qualifications.
“What keeps me at Total is the fact I have been given the chance to prove myself without a degree, something I appreciate and enjoy. I have learned a lot – and there is still much to learn. The gas and power industries demand a lot of skills which gives me the scope to diversify, particularly across European markets.“
What did you learn as an apprentice?
“The apprenticeship lasts for two years. Typically you spend four months in one department before progressing to the next. I began in commissions, paying brokers before moving onto settlements, which deals with invoicing power supply contracts. Next I had an extended period in procurement before joining gas pricing.”
“Besides the specifics of each role I also learned how to apply information technology in a work environment, understand business culture and to absorb information quickly. When a full-time vacancy arose in procurement I had already gained sufficient experience to apply successfully for the role before I had completed my apprenticeship.”
The appeal of Total was to benefit from being part of a multinational company, particularly as the apprenticeship programme was open to all, not only those with university qualifications.
Apr 2017 - present
Energy Position Controller at Total Gas & Power
Jun 2014 – Apr 2017
Energy Procurement Analyst at Total Gas & Power
Oct 2012 – May 2014
Apprentice at Total Gas & Power
Sep 2010 – Jul 2012
BTEC Diploma in Business and Commerce, East Surrey College