The successes and achievements of a group of mentors and their mentees working in the oil and gas industry have been celebrated at an annual awards ceremony.

Participants in the 6th Project Managment Mentoring Programme

Fourteen project managers from a number of companies successfully completed the Oil and Gas Industry Project Management Mentoring Programme 2020, which is co-ordinated by the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB).

Now in its sixth year, the eight-month scheme allows qualified and experienced project practitioners to ‘mentor-forward’, imparting wisdom and providing guidance to less experienced project professionals with the aim of accelerating their performance and careers. To date, more than 80 participants have benefited, many of whom are working towards chartered status with professional bodies such as the Association for Project Management.

Evidence shows that while technical skills can be learned online or in a classroom, behavioural and leadership skills can be enhanced via mentoring so, in 2014, ECITB and the Oil and Gas Project Management Steering Group (OPMSG) set up a pilot scheme to mentor 14 young oil and gas professionals from the Aberdeen area.

Following its success, a full programme was launched, the aim of which was “to impart good practice in project execution within oil and gas-related organisations, through knowledge-sharing and knowledge-transfer”. It has attracted interest as a blueprint for other mentoring activities across the country, as well as other parts of the engineering construction industry, such as nuclear decommissioning.

Andy Brown ECITB Director of Operations

Andy Brown – ECITB Director of Operations

At a virtual awards ceremony, Andy Brown, ECITB Director of Operations, congratulated all those taking part in what has been a particularly challenging year.

“Living and working through the Covid-19 pandemic over the past 10 months has been extremely difficult for many companies and individuals, both professionally and personally,” he said.

“Despite this, everyone taking part in the Oil and Gas Industry Project Management Mentoring Programme 2020 have given 100% effort. Feedback from both mentors and mentees has been extremely positive, with some commenting that the digital experience had, in fact, enhanced this year’s programme due to there being less travel involved and more opportunity for additional meetings. The ability to share screens instantly has helped the quality of meetings and it was felt that nothing had been lost communicating virtually.

“The delivery of projects to world-leading standards is vital to the future well-being of the oil and gas sector. Our programme shows how industry can put aside commercial interests to co-operate for the benefit of the sector as a whole. The ECITB is proud to support this and the other project management development programmes that the Oil and Gas Project Management Steering Group is leading.”

Peter Benton, Chair of the Project Management Competence Working Group, described the mentoring programme as an excellent way of sharing learning and experience from delivery of oil and gas projects, something that is vital to the future well-being of the sector.

“The Project Management Mentoring programme goes from strength to strength each year, and that is very much down to the ongoing commitment and enthusiasm of all those concerned,” he said.

“It also demonstrates the value of mentoring in the workplace. It is quite an undertaking for both mentor and mentee, but the feedback highlights the practical benefits and how much both parties get from the scheme. Our evidence is that this is a success story for everyone involved, with both sides learning a great deal, not just about their approaches to work, but also about themselves and their own ambitions. We are very much looking forward to welcoming the next cohort, which will be starting in 2021.”

Alasdair Smith, Managing Director, Three60 Energy, said: “The ECITB has developed a really powerful mentoring programme with the major benefit being mentor and mentee being from different organisations.

“This offers the mentee support independent from the workplace and enhances industry collaboration. It has been different this year with Covid restrictions and the need to use VC but that hasn’t diminished from the value of the programme for both mentees and mentors alike.”

Mentee David Austin, Project Manager from Stork, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed the mentoring programme, the support over the weeks and months form Alasdair has been great, he’s a fantastic mentor. I feel I have got a lot out of our meetings and I look forward to keeping in touch with him.”

The companies which took part in this years programme are: Cephas Projects; Churchill Drilling Tool Rentals Ltd; EnQuest; Neptune Energy; Oceaneering; Pearl Engineering; Petrofac; Pro-fection; SafeSys Projects Limited; Sealand Projects; Shell; Spirit Energy; Stork, Subsea 7; Three60 Energy and Worley.

Those who completed this year’s programme are:

Amol DeshmukhDebbie Skene
Alero Abe
Lucinda Lo
David Austin
Valeria Cesaro
Sarah Beagrie
Liam O’Neill
Paul Kelly
Nicky Moir
Sebastian Cavanagh
Dave Hutcheon
Simon Stannard
Euan Mowat

Alan Glennie
Jonathan Bird
Peter Benton
Innes Simpson
Mark Brennan
Alasdair Smith
Shona Campbell
Alasdair Smith
Ken Hope
Will Black
Thamarai Saravananvt
Derek Thoms
Jacqui Aird-Paterson
Ellie Zemani