How a graduate placement has benefited Port of Cromarty Firth

By Deeanne Wink, HR Business Partner at Port of Cromarty Firth

Published: 30/08/2016

Graduate on the Firth in front of port terminal

The Port of Cromarty Firth is a Trust Port based in Invergordon. A Trust Port is an independent statutory body, created by an Act of Parliament.  It is not controlled by a local authority, nor is it a private business. Instead it is run by an independent Board, for the benefit of its stakeholders, and governed by its own local legislations. The port’s mission is to improve, safeguard and develop the Cromarty Firth as a port for the benefit of all its stakeholders. Our stakeholders include customers, employees, local and national government, the business community, the local community and the environment. 

As a Trust port, we are obliged to manage the port in such a way that takes into account the needs of the different stakeholders and to balance economic growth and job creation with environmental sustainability. 

Last year, and for the first time, we created and filled a placement for a graduate to join the environmental team. The job was designed to be relatively flexible, allowing the graduate we appointed to support the team in a number of different ways. This would both benefit the wider company and its stakeholders, but also allow the graduate the opportunity to learn and develop their skills in a diverse and challenging role.

When recruiting the graduate, we looked to ensure they held relevant environmental qualifications, examined what motivated them to apply, and whether they had any previous work or other experience that might offer transferable skills.

Since starting the placement in September 2015, the successful graduate, James Cusiter, who holds a MSc Oceanology degree, has undertaken a number of important tasks. These include updating the environmental management system, supporting and developing projects for the environmental department, and supporting other functions within the business including the role of certified internal auditor.

We have been particularly pleased in the way that the graduate has been so engaging with his colleagues and unafraid to ask questions, questions that have at made us examine some of our methodologies and approaches more closely. We have already begun to adapt some of our procedures as a result of our graduates input to our team.

I would recommend a graduate programme or student placement to other organisations looking to explore new options. If I were to highlight the top three benefits of hiring a graduate, I would say:

The two way learning process, for both the graduate and the more experienced rest of the team, bringing fresh perspective.

The opportunity to develop the graduate’s knowledge, appreciation of, and experience in a real workplace.

Allowing the graduate’s knowledge and learning to be used in practical applications, supporting the team in achieving the company’s objectives.