My Resources

Karen Harris

How did you get started in your career and what drew you to EDF Energy?

I have worked for EDF Energy for nine years and currently work in the training team at the company’s Hartlepool Power station. Prior to this I worked as an HR Advisor. As well as my day-to-day duties I work with local schools and colleges as a STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) Ambassador and have attended many Graduate and Apprentice careers fairs for EDF Energy.

I am also part of an EDF Energy employee initiative called ‘Company Makers’, where members aim to build understanding and collaboration between different parts of the business. During my early career I worked as a manager within the retail sector and then completed a degree in human resources. I started a role as an HR Manager for Debenhams following my graduation. I applied for a role as an HR Advisor at Hartlepool Power Station as I wanted to work in a very different environment to retail. EDF Energy provided me with new challenges.

What are your typical daily responsibilities?

They are incredibly varied! I work part-time and complete specific projects that I can add value to. I support the training of EDF Energy employees in areas such as ’Nuclear Leadership’ and ‘Knowledge Management’, as well as carrying out day-to-day admin. At the moment I am supporting the roll-out of a company-wide engagement programme.

How has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?

My disability is just a part of me and who I am. I don't come across many difficulties and have certainly never come across anything that I have been unable to deal with. My first visit to Hartlepool Power Station was a slight challenge. I have an artificial left arm and unfortunately couldn’t activate one of the monitored access gates. I had to approach someone to carry out a different process, which felt a little bit awkward since I had just joined the business. However I was immediately put at ease and there have been alternatives put in place for me; it is not an issue.

I had a workplace assessment to ensure my computer and work area met my needs. I also have an adapter for my telephone which has a wireless earpiece. I feel that I am treated as an individual who is valued and included for my abilities. I was recruited into my job at EDF Energy because of what I could bring to my role, without my disability being a factor. I think this encompasses EDF Energy’s commitment to an inclusive culture.

I am a Diversity & Inclusion ‘Task Team’ member at Hartlepool Power station and really value Diversity. The Hartlepool Diversity Task Team is very proactive and is always coming up with new ideas to keep the D&I message current for our employees. We played a part in EDF Energy's achievement of the ‘Diversity Works for London Gold Standard’ in 2012, which only four organisations received nationwide - a significant milestone in our D&I journey as a company.

What advice or top tips would you offer?

I have always had the attitude that the only person who would stop me from doing something is me. This is a simple statement, and I know from my own experience that having a disability is not a simple matter. What I mean by this is if I see my disability as a barrier, other people will also. Turn that on its head and think of all the things we need to do to make things happen, sometimes we can come up with barriers which we perceive to be there but are not. My son also has a disability and I am pleased to say that at 12 years old, he is showing so much courage and confidence; he has a real ‘can do’ attitude which is an inspiration to me.

Karen Harris's photo

Karen Harris

Training Department, EDF Energy, Hartlepool Power Station

Degree / Previous: HR Advisor