Within Project Lightning – our exciting initiative to boost the availability of Virgin Media across the UK, I have been given the sole charge of running the Opex (Operational expenditure) elements totalling £7.8 million for 2015 and increasing to £17.1 million next year. As a result of Project Lightning being announced in February 2015, some of the financials are relatively unknown and unpredictable, providing scope for me to develop and set the basis for the project to successfully progress. I oversee 26 cost centres working with the managers to deliver targets on a monthly basis as well as creating the budget for next year to achieve the targets as stated above. The budget has been a large focus of mine over the last two months; I have had to liase with senior stakeholders to alter figures which are at variance from the 2015 run rate within different cost centres to set us a realistic target for 2016.
Project Lightning has considerable public exposure; its criticality to VM achieving its long term goals means my involvement in the financial aspects of the project involve multiple operational areas including procurement and financial control. I have found the networking very useful; these skills and potential contacts will be valuable in my career progression. Due to the amount of exposure and responsibility, I have been getting a great sense of recognition and escalating my learning curve. My competitive attitude and desire to improve has consequently led me to be in an advanced position and asking questions has been vital to gain a well-rounded understanding of Virgin as a business and what commercial finance entails.
I now have a greater understanding of Lightning and how each component works, to enable us to meet our build targets and casts light on possible future problems. I have been on a day out in Sheffield to understand how they plan where they will build, taking into account costs and wayleaves (legal costs). I have been to Cambridge to observe how the Build team dig the roads creating small trenches where the fibre optic wires are laid and also managed to see a newly developed house and how the wires were filtered in to the house. Finally within the next month I will be going on another trip with a technician to witness how repairs to the wires are made and have more of a sense of how Virgin employees interact with external customers.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few months of working life and feel Virgin Media has been a great place to understand how a large corporation is run, gaining an insight into the necessary conflicts between the Financial and Operational Teams . I have enormously developed my IT and communication skills through the interaction and sense of trust which has been put in me, which I feel at many other companies, would not be the case. By the end of my placement I want to have a wider understanding of the business as a whole, therefore I hope to spend some time in other functions.