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Growth, development and direction – that’s what I had hoped Heathrow’s Graduate Leadership Development Programme would provide, and the programme has far surpassed my expectations. After studying Geography, I knew I needed the diversity in learning which I had experienced throughout my degree to be reflected in my career, hence I chose Heathrow. The programme was one of the few I applied for which offered rotations across the business, rather than just within a departmental area. As someone who did not have a definitive career pathway in mind when I first joined, the flexibility allowed me to test the waters, stretch myself and ultimately find an area I’m passionate about – Communications. Coupled alongside the day-to-day work, Heathrow also provided us with a structured learning programme. The wealth of opportunity and experience available for us to be involved in at Heathrow provided continuous professional and person growth opportunities, which pushed us outside our comfort zone and ensured we consistently developed throughout the eighteen months.
I began the programme with a placement in the Community Team, where I developed a strong understanding of Heathrow’s ethos, which is centred on being a good neighbour to our local community. Following this I was keen to develop my commercial awareness and chose to spend six months in the Retail Team – a key focus of my time here was understanding the role creative planning and innovative technologies would play in future retail opportunities at the airport. From early on in my first placement the world of Communications fascinated me, so I took the chance, joined the Media team as a Press Officer for my final placement and I haven’t looked back since. This dynamic, fast-paced area of the businesses truly lives up to the cliché that no two days are the same at Heathrow and I’ve found a career that both excites and stretches me.
As I reflect now, it is clear to me that as result of the support I have received from my teams, my three managers and the graduate cohort, I have developed in a multitude of ways. Heathrow provides you with the growth opportunities and onus is placed firmly on you take them, run with them and thrive. Initially, something which I really struggled with was my confidence and that all too familiar feeling of imposter syndrome. However, being trusted to lead on projects and having supportive managers who believed in my decisions, has allowed me to build my confidence and perform successfully in a professional setting. Whilst Heathrow is a large, multi-faceted organisation, it has a clear beating heart felt throughout and as one we are a dedicated team, passionate about the service we provide and the people we support. The constant guidance and support I received has enabled me to realise my true ambitions and strive for a job I so keenly wanted.
Undertaking a graduate scheme at an airport during a pandemic, when UK aviation effectively closed in all but name, was not always straightforward. However, aviation is the lifeblood of the UK and I feel incredibly fortunate to have played my small part in keeping Heathrow open, allowing all-important trade and medical supplies to reach those in need and reuniting separated loved ones. As we begin to move forward, Heathrow is quite clearly a growth business, with opportunities a plenty and a strong desire to win the recovery and build back better. I’m excited for Heathrow’s next steps and I know myself and others cannot wait to be a part of the post-pandemic journey.
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