A recent participant in Shell’s STEP programme has already been promoted to run a division of a coatings company that could save industry millions of pounds replacing old and worn equipment.
Perth-born, but Aberdeen-educated, Michael Scott, 24, was one of a group of enterprising students placed within SMEs in the oil&gas industry for eight to 12 weeks in the summer of 2005.
And it appears that he has not looked back since his placement at Portlethen-based Advanced Coating Initiative (ACI).
Scott is now facility manager of the InnerArmor division of the company, which is forecast to become the largest in revenue terms in the business, generating an estimated £3million a year by 2010.
In this role, he is responsible for overseeing all operational aspects in the day-to-day running of the newest addition to ACI’s coating technologies.
Following completion of his placement, he started working part-time with the company in his final year reading for an electronic and electrical engineering degree at Aberdeen University.
He graduated with an MEng (Hons) in June, 2006, and is now studying for an Open University degree while holding down the job.
“I worked three-four days/nights a week, primarily in the workshop, where I gained an excellent all-round understanding of how ACI functioned,” said Scott.
“It was during this time that I began to see a career at ACI as a possibility following graduation.
“For me, the benefits of obtaining a placement are second to none. Most of the time at university is spent reading from textbooks and there is very little time set aside for practical activities, let alone those that fall into a business environment.
“During my placement and while I worked at the company part-time, I gained experience in various functions of the business, including technical, accounts, QHSE, IT and sales – exposure to these types of skills is extremely limited at university.
“People from university who I’ve kept in touch with are all in full-time jobs and only a small percentage had a work placement.
“But I don’t believe any of them have a role in which their responsibilities are as varied and testing as mine in terms of responsibility.”
Jim Davidson, managing director of ACI, praised the Shell STEP programme for encouraging the development of talented individuals and said Scott had “impressive” technical skills and was also very commercially aware.
“He has the personality that fits with our culture and the drive and ability to make things happen.
“We believe in giving our staff opportunities to advance and are always willing to invest in developing their talents – for example, through courses to make sure their skills sets are ahead of competitors.
“Michael has made the most of these opportunities and we are sure he has a great future ahead of him.”