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What’s your background?

I worked in the oil and gas industry for around 8 years before restarting life as a student, doing both a degree and then a PhD in marine science, gaining this placement and so returning to work.


Why did you apply for a ScotGrad Placement?

I applied for this placement for several reasons. Firstly, I wanted to work in an environmental consultancy in a position that both allowed me to continue to work as a scientist as well as using my experience of industry to help the business. I also wanted to work in a small company as opposed to my previous career in Schlumberger, a company that had over 100,000 employees.


What is your placement and what have you enjoyed the most?

I work as part of the business development team at SRSL, a marine environmental consultancy. I am responsible for searching out new business opportunities, identifying the best way to respond to the opportunity and then when appropriate I draw together a team of consultants with the relevant skills, identify a methodology for the project, calculate a price for the work and write a compliant tender for the client. I then do contact due diligence on any contractual matters before passing the project over to the project manager who then oversees the work.


What new skills/knowledge have you developed during your placement?

I have honed my writing style to comply with the requirements of tendering, have increased my awareness of the mechanisms by which a successful marketing department can feed business into the company and have become far more aware of the intricacies of business development and client relationships.


What was the biggest benefit of attending the ScotGrad residential training? 

The biggest advantage of the ScotGrad residential training for me was a simple one. It was the first formal training I have had in business development and business systems. While I had practical experience, I had no formal training of any budget management, contract awareness, business development or marketing. I had a very interesting and informative week, learning a lot from very knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff.  I would, without a hesitation, recommend anyone to undertake a ScotGrad placement as it has been a really good learning experience.


Any advice for other graduates?

I would say that it is never too late to seek a career change. I left a successful and financially rewarding career at the age of 32, undertook over 7 years of retraining and can honestly say that it has been a very good decision. Happiness is worth infinitely more than a large pay check and a new car in the garage.


What are your plans for after your placement?

I continue to actively seek out employment in case my contract ends in January 2016 and is not renewed. Although I have applied for work in Norway, France, Germany, Canada, the USA and Japan I would prefer to remain within the Highlands and Islands. Without being arrogant, I know that I am performing well in my job (I was recently informed that my tender:win ratio is over 60% which is extremely high – most companies regard 30% as being “good”), I work well within the team at SRSL and that my line manager regards me as a valuable member of the team.  I would welcome the chance to stay here, but the decision is out of my hands.