Sonal Patel’s journey
How did you get to where you are now?
“I started at Tata in October 2013, and started out covering for the Clarity, Capability and Commitment Manager, before the role changed Learning & Development Manager, my current role.
Before Tata, I started out as a Sales Advisor in B2B and in retail roles, before moving into store management. I moved into Learning & Development over 13 years ago, and have never looked back.
I worked as a freelance consultant and contractor for over five years, and in that time, I have been fortunate to work with a lot of different organisations such as United Utilities, Vodafone, Kelloggs, JJB Sports, AQA and Warburtons.
I started at Tata as a fixed-term contractor, but was warned that the company does get under your skin and I wouldn’t want to leave. This is the first permanent role that I have had since April 2008 and I love it. The people in this business are fantastic and I can’t imagine wanting to work anywhere else.”
How has Tata’s training programme helped you?
“Although I’m quite new to the business, I’ve already attended a two-day course on EQi (Emotional Intelligence) Certification. This was invaluable, helping me to administer EQi personality profiles and feedback, and coach managers and individuals on their behaviours and personal impact. It was great learning for me, but the business benefit is that we can now do these in house as part of any management development, instead of relying on external consultants for this service
Have you had any assistance with your career progression?
“Everyone I have met at Tata has made me feel welcome and supported. There is so much technical knowledge in this business with really gifted and talented experts.
I don’t have a chemical background and the products and processes were very new to me. However, in my time here, I’ve never felt as though I was asking a daft question. If anything, operational and technical colleagues have been delighted to share their knowledge, and I have always been impressed with the passion and depth of expertise that we have.”
What advice do you have for anyone considering a career at Tata Chemicals Europe?
“The Tata name is huge, in that we are part of a much larger group of businesses with a massive reputation and a proud heritage. We also have a proud history here in Cheshire, as parts of our plant have been here before Tata was even born.
At the same time, we are a relatively small company in the group, and so we are able to leverage the strengths of being part of a large established company, at the same time as trying to ensure we are agile, lean and maximise our impact.
This makes for a fantastic company with huge ambition, but at the same time with a real family feel.
If you can balance a passion for our business and our people with ability to think creatively and the drive to help this business succeed and grow, you can have a great career here. Just be warned, you might start out with colleagues, but you’ll end with a lot of friends!”