Experience is Key: An Offshore Manager during the Energy Transition

With industry leaders impatient to announce their new investments within ‘green’ energy, industry personnel are trying to keep up with the demand, adapting to the circumstances and taking the next steps in the fight for survival. Over the last seven years, Atlas Professional Scott Hume has made the transition from fossil fuels into renewable energy. Starting out as an electrical technician on oil and gas platforms, Scott is now an Offshore Manager working for the world leader in power and automation technology ABB.

Establishing roots

From an early age, Scott was surrounded by the offshore industry, “my dad worked onshore and offshore as an electrical engineer at Saudi Aramco, so I have grown up around the offshore lifestyle. In the back of my mind I always wanted to go and try the offshore industry.” Scott began his career as an electrical technician, “after I started working on the platforms I was lucky enough to move into the cable-laying industry and this made all the difference when transferring into renewable energy.”

Knowing who’s who

In the aftermath of the United Nations Climate Change agreement, offshore recruiters are anxious to meet client’s expectations in providing fully qualified and competent personnel to keep the supply chain flowing. “The reason why I decided to transfer into the renewables market was because of the ad-hoc situation of the oil & gas industry,” explains Scott. “Renewables is stable and more flexible when tailoring to the needs of its personnel. Definitely since the decrease in the oil price there has been a lot of people trying to get into offshore wind because it’s not a closed market. The problem is that renewables is still quite a small industry and everybody knows everybody. So for personnel who don’t have the right cable-lay experience it’s very difficult for them to break into this industry as it’s not really something you can train for.”

Taking on new recruits

However, more industry leaders are beginning to face these challenges head on, “ABB has been very good, they’ve taken on four trainees in total that have a background in onshore work and we have taken them in as operators for the cable-lay industry. Experience is the main issue we are facing during this energy transition, until you’ve actually been on a cable-laying vessel, laying cable, then it’s very difficult to understand how it works, so people from oil & gas who have worked on platforms all their life haven’t got a clue how cable is actually laid or how it’s supposed to be. It’s vital for personnel to have on-the-job training. Some companies will take you on and train you up as an electrical tech, but not a lot of companies are doing this at the moment.”

The best agency to work for

With experience being the vital ingredient, it has become harder for recruitment agencies to stand out from their competitors, “I have been working through Atlas for seven years; I might be biased, but it’s the best agency I’ve worked for. I’ve had no problems being paid, organising travel at short notice or dealing with any other urgent requirements. Agencies need to go the extra mile in a market such as this, and the ladies in the Offshore Wind office based in Bristol are absolutely fantastic to deal with. As one of my responsibilities is to arrange the travel for the entire crew at ABB the Bristol team are happy to help out.

During the day I also use Atlas’ planning tool via their software. We are constantly organising travel for guys, doing all the timesheets for them, so I can use the online system to carry out these tasks and also monitor Atlas’ work in progress at the same time.”

Oil & Gas will always be there

With renewables leading the way for 2017, Scott believes that the oil & gas market won’t get left behind, “I think renewable energy will always be at the forefront of the industry due to the political reasons behind it; its results are sustainable and it pays. However, I also think that oil & gas will come back, it may not come back as strong, but it will certainly come back, as long as there is oil in the ground this industry will never really go away.”