Fast Track: A-Z of Employers - National Power

Age: Eight

History: Following the privatisation of the UK's state-owned electricity supply industry in 1991, National Power was formed. Today, it is one of the world's leading independently owned power-generating companies. From its UK base, it has the capacity to supply electricity to some 36 million people. Currently, National Power is focusing on expanding its international business, thereby providing employees with increasing opportunities for placements abroad - although you have to be with the company for 24 months to be in the running. Typically, these placements are offered to staff in operations and engineering.

Address: Headquarters are on the outskirts of Swindon in Wiltshire. National Power also develops, invests in, owns, operates and maintains a diverse range of generating stations across England and Wales and worldwide.

Ambience: "You'll be working in an ever-changing environment," remarks a spokesperson.

In Swindon, offices are open-plan, and throughout the power stations there is an expectation that staff are familiar with all operational activity - which inevitably increases sociability. There are only a few organisational layers, so career development emphasises skills rather than hierarchical development. Teamwork, commitment and support are rated highly.

Vital statistics: Annual turnover is in the region of pounds 3bn. Some 4,500 staff are currently employed, with graduates being recruited in areas of engineering and operations, commercial, information technology, human resources and finance.

Lifestyle: You are encouraged to be vibrant and enthusiastic, not least because there are plenty of opportunities to put forward new ideas. Graduates are expected to be particularly flexible when it comes to working hours. If you're working in the commercial field, you may even be expected to work shifts.

Easy to get into? Last year, 41 graduates were recruited from 2,500 applicants. This year there are expected to be 40. You typically have to have a 2.1 honours degree to be considered. For operational/ engineering positions, you'll have an engineering/ science-based background; for commercial opportunities, you'll normally have a science/ numerate/ business background. For everything else, having good grades is more important than the content of your degree. Initiative as well as interpersonal, analytical and leadership skills are also fundamental. For all enquiries and applications, contact Ciaran Dunne or visit the website at

Pay: Salaries start at pounds 18,000 for graduates, with 25 days' holiday and private health care. After two years, pay becomes performance-related.

Training: During the first two years, you can expect to gain wide experience over a range of placements, supplemented with training in your core discipline and management skills. You'll have a mentor and you'll be encouraged to reach the standards set down by relevant professional institutions. Substantive roles are usually gained within two years.

Facilities: Most locations have restaurants, training rooms and sporting facilities. Graduates tend to bond quickly and develop their own social life.

Who's the boss? Keith Henry is chief executive, with John Collins as chairman.