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Energising people: Kat from SGN

When Katarzyna (Kat) Sumara started at SGN she didn’t know anything about the gas industry. Fast-forward three years and she’s now a Trainee Team Manager, learning the necessary skills to become a future people leader.

Kat describes joining SGN as a Depot Administrator in 2017 as a “lucky accident”. She explains: “I don’t have an engineering background. In fact, I have a Master of English, so the gas industry is completely foreign to what I was familiar with. When I first started, the only thing I knew about gas was that it heats up your home and comes on when you switch your cooker on.”

At the time, Kat had been made redundant from her previous customer service job and she needed work quickly. She saw the admin role as a stopgap and assumed she’d move on after a couple of months, given her background wasn’t in the industry. But the “passionate and friendly” people and development opportunities available at SGN kept her from going anywhere.

“I’ve been at SGN a bit over three years now [15 months of those in the office] and it’s been a great experience. I’ve had great managers and found people who were willing to take a chance on me and give me opportunities to grow and develop, even though I didn’t have much experience.”

Twelve months after Kat joined SGN, she was seconded into a health and safety role, which was a “great turning point” for her career, allowing her to gain a lot of operational and technical experience, as well as several formal health and safety qualifications. When her secondment was about to expire 18 months later, Kat saw the Trainee Team Manager opportunity come up. “I applied, got it and the rest is history.”

The Trainee Team Manager role was the perfect next step for Kat. Being a people person and quite ambitious, she aspired to get into a management role, but her lack of engineering and industry experience was holding her back. “The trainee program is the perfect pathway for you to gain that necessary experience. It gives you the time to learn, study and focus on your development, rather than just being thrown into the deep end.”

She says, “The two-year Trainee Team Manager program encompasses both technical and soft skill training, and SGN puts a lot of effort into making sure that we’re trained to a very high standard.”

For someone wanting to grow and develop in the company they’re in, Kat’s recommendation is to work hard, try not to get discouraged and don’t make any rash career decisions. “You need to persevere. If you’re told ‘no’, don’t get discouraged, just go for it again and again, because an opportunity will come along and someone will take a chance. When my health and safety secondment was coming to an end, someone said to me don’t make any rash decisions when it comes to your career – I think that’s wise advice! Think it through and sometimes it’s better to wait than rushing into something.”

Adapted from and originally published on