Rose's journey from hairdresser to Project Manager

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Rose Leggett

I’m Rose Leggett, I’m 31 and from Portsmouth. As I grew up along the coast, my favourite place to be has always been on the beach or in water. I honestly have far too much energy for my own good, so keeping active is a big part of my life.

I left school with no clue what I wanted to do in life. I started out training to be a Hairdresser which I enjoyed for a few years as I will start a conversation with anyone that is within arm’s length. After a while, I decided I needed a new direction and applied for a Customer Service role in the utility sector. I worked for over 12 years across two utility companies where I learned all about the industry and worked my way up across various departments including HR, Learning and Development and Industry Change Programmes. Here, I led multiple projects including setting up new contact centres, IT and telephony systems integrations, governance and policy, as well as keeping on top of regulatory changes including the: Ofgem smarter switch, smart meter rollout and DCC adoption programmes.

Eventually, I wanted to learn something new again. SGN had multiple offices in areas I had worked so naturally caught my interest. I’d always worked in an office and applying for a field-based role was completely out of my comfort zone. I did a lot of research into SGN and the Replacement Programme sounded so interesting and an opportunity to help deliver such a key success for the company.

Since the moment I first stepped into an SGN building, I have never felt more comfortable in a working environment. My first interview was with two experienced engineering managers and I won’t lie, with the title being Project Manager, I initially thought the role was something very different! Both explained the role very clearly to me, not once undermining the fact I had little engineering skills, but encouraging me to deliver my previous experiences and vast knowledge on the industry and delivering my key changes and targets to my best. I went in with zero expectations and so many questions of what it would entail and left the room feeling so excited about the role and the team I could be working with, wanting the position so much more than I already did. So when I got the news I was successful, I couldn’t wait to begin my new journey and get stuck in!

If I said I wasn’t nervous before my first site visit, I’d be lying. My biggest worry was how the engineers would react seeing a female turn up to site and whether they would think it was funny. How very wrong I was! It was a contractor site, where the Site Co-ordinator came straight over to introduce themselves and gave me a proper introduction to site. They were interested in asking me questions around what role I would be doing and a bit about me as a person.

This positive experience only continued as I visited more sites, eventually going without my Mentor to carry out audits and site visits, where I always received the same respect and acknowledgement. Communication is key when it comes to the success of delivery and ensuring a safe and protected environment – the teams on site will always accept any of my challenges without hesitation and, more recently, the Contract Managers and Safety Manager will include me in discussions and innovations they want to deliver as the world changes.

When I look back at how I felt about going to site on my first day and my knowledge in technical skills, compared to now, I realise how far I have come and how much I have enjoyed my entire experience so far. I look forward to continuing my training and delivering my role to the best of my ability, as I’m sure any new Project Manager would feel working with the colleagues and engineers I do.

A huge part of my confidence and knowledge has come from my two mentors, who have encouraged, included and supported me so much. They’ve guided me when I’ve needed it and never once undermined me for any question I’ve had. Most importantly, they have given me the trust to do things on my own and felt confidence in my ability to achieve. This has then only been replicated by the praise and encouragement received by my Managers.

I am now a ‘fully fledged’ Project Manager and Authorising Engineer for Routine Operations and Permits, which is a big responsibility SGN has trained and entrusted me in. I feel very proud to work for SGN as a Project Manager, and I love telling my friends about what I do. I’m really excited for what my future progression within the company brings!