Chantal T – E-On Coventry
00:00:03 Hi, I’m Chantal T, I’m a commercial lawyer and I work in E.ON’s legal department. On a day to day basis I provide legal advice and support to our generation and renewables businesses. So, our renewables business, for instance, builds wind farm projects, so we advise them from the very start of the project on any issues they might have, for instance, finding land to build wind turbines on, right the way through to the end of the process when the projects are up and running and operational and then we might have contractor issues, for instance. So, at each step of the project we’ll provide legal advice and support to the business to make sure they can deliver their projects.
00:00:42 At about the age sort of 10-12 I had my heart set on becoming a lawyer. There was a TV programme at the time, I don’t know whether you’re familiar with it, called “LA Law” very popular in the 80s, courtroom drama, really, very exciting. I thought, “This sounds very interesting,” so very early on I thought, “Oh, legal issues, problems, that’s interesting.” After A Levels, it was really about getting the best results I could t go to the university that I really wanted to go do and I wanted to go to Birmingham University. They had a very good law faculty and a very nice campus and I had family that lived around the area, as well, so I thought it would be a fantastic place to go to university.
00:01:17 Everyone thinks law is a very difficult subject, I think, to study at university and there is an awful lot of information to understand and to take in and we do have very difficult exams, but I love the subject. It’s so interesting, so diverse. You’re learning about sort medical negligence and medical ethic problems one day, learning about contract law the next day, learning about so many different aspects of law which you probably wouldn’t, you wouldn’t know when you’re at school what law involves. You just think legal, you think criminal work, family work. It’s much wider than that. Ultimately I wanted to become a solicitor so I then enrolled for a year’s law school at Birmingham University as well. They run the course there which was great because a lot of my friends stayed at university and went on to do the same law school course as well.
00:02:03 Initially, one of my passions was criminal and family law and I actually applied to lots and lots of, I think something like 300 to 500 various law firms to see whether I could be accepted as a trainee in their practice. Unfortunately at the time the legal aid system was going through a lot of problems and there weren’t many jobs available and so meantime to get some money together to pay off some of my fees for going to law school etc, I started working at what was Power Gen then but now E.ON as a vacation student and that was just going to be a three month opportunity just working in the legal team, understanding a bit more about the legal process while I still carried on my applications for other jobs. But luckily, E.ON were brilliant and I became an integral member of the team. I persuaded my boss that he could give me a training contract and I could train within the in-house department and then it went from there, really, so two years on I then qualified as a solicitor.
00:03:04 I was very lucky last year I managed to persuade E.ON that I’d like to take a year’s sabbatical and because I’d been with the company a long time they thought it was a good idea. I went travelling for a year. So I started off my trip in New Zealand so travelled around there for a few months and then spent the rest of the year in South America which was absolutely amazing. Starting off at the very top of Ecuador and working my way right down to Ushuaia at the bottom of South America. My travelling, I think, showed me that really there’s no place like home. Although I loved seeing new sights and travelling around, actually, I really wanted to come back and get stuck into my job again.
00:03:40 Lance Armstrong is a real inspiration to me. I do a little bit of cycling though, nowhere near on his scale and mine’s very much sort of mountain biking as opposed to Tour de France, but I think he’s really somebody that just proves that if you put your mind to it, you know, anything’s possible. Having come back through a very traumatic illness to win the Tour de France and apparently he’s going to be entering it again next year. I just think it’s absolutely incredible. ENDS