What’s in a Traineeship?

Working title: ‘My Thug Life’

Hey there! Here is my advice / thoughts / don’t-believe-everything-you-read on all things ‘Statkraft Trainee’. What is being in the trainee program actually like? What is the Statkraft work culture actually like? Why you should want to be a trainee and what you can expect from the experience.

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They told me never to post without a photo… so here’s us discussing.. something important… That head hidden by hair? That’s me! This is about as photogenic as I get! 🙂

What’s the trainee program?

Quick run-down: Four rotations in different sections of the company, six months each. At least one rotation abroad. As much responsibility as you can handle. New friends. New experiences. Lots of learning. Expect to be humbled, but not too stressed.

Extra Benefits?

There’s the obvious health-related benefits, but I want to touch on the rest! The headquarters in Oslo is pretty decked out. Two canteens, a gym, various sporting groups, a massage chair, to name a few. Because Statkraft is a main sponsor of the Oslo Opera, we also sometimes get free tickets to shows! Even the other offices usually have their own canteen and sporting groups (Climbing, Tennis, Climbing, Squash, Climbing, Soccer (Sorry! Football.)… I like climbing..). Christmas parties and summer barbeques. There are lots of extra things to enjoy.

Hours and vacation?

Statkraft works on flex-time. This means you usually have 5 or 6 mandatory hours (depends on the office), where you have to be there, and you make up the rest of the time as you like. 7-3? 9-5?. The mandatory hours vary depending on your rotation, manager etc, but it’s still a really nice deal. If you are international, and are expecting to work 14 hour days in a program like this, think again. 8 is expected. 10 when things are really busy. Over 20 days’ vacation for the first year. No one wants you to burn out, so, get your work done, but enjoy life as well. And whether you’re in Dusseldorf or Oslo or elsewhere (Although, I really recommend you do a rotation in my home-office, Dusseldorf 😉 ), there is plenty of life around to enjoy.

Workplace culture

This depends a lot of the office, and even within the offices, a lot on which team / area / floor you are in. But in general, here are some of the main attributes I’ve see in the workplace culture (remember though, I’ve just had a brief stint in Dusseldorf Markets, and a month at the Oslo office):

  1. We’re all mad here. I count many of my colleagues as my friends as well. There have been BBQs, nights out, and coworkers I share all my secrets with. Again, not all teams are the same (My experience in Dusseldorf will be pretty hard to beat! J), but generally, I think this workplace is closer and friendlier than most.
  2. No Secretaries? No problem! This is a funny thing for me, coming from some project consulting internships. Excepting the people manning the reception desks (who are absolute pros!), most teams don’t have secretaries or administrators. This means more responsibility, more freedom, etc.
  3. Vive la revolution! Hierarchy is a bit different in Statkraft. Sure, your boss has a boss who has a boss, but in general, everyone is pretty humble. After a bit of time at Statkraft you go on what’s called an intro-trip where all the EVPs give you, and the other new additions to Statkraft, an overview of their sections of the company. During this you can ask questions. In my experience they’ve all been very friendly and happy to talk to everyone. This may be different from other companies where upper management can feel unapproachable. It’s not that you should go to the VP’s with all your workplace problems, but you can schedule a lunch with them, or talk about the weather if that’s your thing (I don’t judge)!
  4. Figure it out! Statkraft is not shy about giving responsibility early on and seeing how you handle it. Expect to start out with a bit of weight on your shoulders. Expect to make mistakes, be forgiven, and move on.

So, what’s the issue?

Yup, there are downsides to Statkraft too. I really dislike it when people pretend that everything is perfect, so, without getting censored, here are some things I think we could do better (or what Statkraft isn’t):

  1. Could you direct me to the sharing circle? Like many international companies, Statkraft is machine that’s grown and grown and grown upon itself, and as a consequence not everything is efficiently connected. Knowledge sharing can be an issue, and that’s part of the reason the trainee program is so important. Part of the reason Statkraft needs trainees, is to connect all the moving parts.
  2. Have you seen my… ? Not having team administrators is a cool idea. It gives people freedom, and personally, I love that. This does however mean that things can be a bit less organized. It takes a while to get used to asking people where things are instead of quickly searching for it on the drives yourself. But hey, don’t be shy.. just ask.
  3. Speed bumps ahead.. Drive slowly Statkraft is not the fastest moving company out there. If you want to be on the edge of innovation, without plugging any company names here, you probably know where to look. Statkraft isn’t about to take huge risks to change the world. They won’t be building the first self-driving car, or making a breakthrough in battery technology. But you can bet they will be on top of it when the innovation starts to drive big changes. When solar boomed in Germany, for instance.

Summary: Why apply?

If you’re hired, it’s a great experience! You get a broad overview of an international company. You get the opportunity to see and help shape the future of the energy industry. You get to work with many likeminded and bright people. And most importantly, you can have a lot of fun (What’s the point in working if it’s never fun right?). 🙂

 

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