In our final Staff Focus, we hear from Darryl Dowell who works with Serco NorthLink Ferries as Senior Freight Co-ordinator.
Darryl left school after completing his Fifth Year and, unsure of what he wanted to do as a career, enrolled at Orkney College to study HNC Business Studies. After graduating he joined NorthLink Ferries as a Customer Service Assistant, before moving to a local construction company to become a Trainee Estimator. He then moved to Australia for a year, working as a full-time Estimator. On his return to Orkney, Daryll undertook a customer services role before returning to NorthLink Ferries as a Freight Co-ordinator.
Now we hear from Victoria Dixon, Social Media Officer with NorthLink Ferries.
After initially leaving school at 16 to become an Apprentice Jeweller, Victoria returned to complete an art portfolio and was accepted to study at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. Following her graduation, she returned to Orkney and studied for an HNC in Business Administration at Orkney College and worked as a freelance Graphic Designer before setting up her own graphic design and photography business. In 2013, she joined NorthLink as Social Media Assistant, before progressing to her current role.
Next in Northlink Ferries’ takeover of our social media, we hear from Connor McGarry who tells us about his career journey to his current job as a Marine Superintendent.
Connor secured a Merchant Navy Cadetship at the end of his fifth year, he then became a Deck Officer and worked his way up to his current role as Marine Superintendent.
In this film that we made in partnership with NorthLink Ferries, you can learn about the variety of jobs available with Northlink Ferries, both shoreside and at sea.
Lesley Campbell, Database Manager with NorthLink Ferries tells us about her career journey.
Lesley left college with a degree in mathematics and started her career in banking. After working at the Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh as a Senior Developer, she decided to move to Orkney to improve her quality of life. This was in 2002 as NorthLink Ferries were starting up and she joined the company working in the Customer Service Centre answering calls. After six month, she moved into her current role.
Now we hear from Callum Knowles, an HR Officer with Serco Northlink Ferries.
Callum left school at the start of his sixth year and undertook a Modern Apprenticeship in Business and Administration. He was working in a HR role within the haulage sector before being made redundant due to COVID. He undertook a different role with the same company, but missed working in HR so applied for his current role with Northlink Ferries.
Next up in our Social Media Takeover, we hear from Dana Sutherland, Customer Service Assistant with Northlink Ferries, and the career path she took to get there.
Dana originally spent six years training to become a chef before deciding to try home care, but realised it wasn’t for her. She then applied for a job with NorthLink and secured a full-time position as a Customer Service Assistant. Dana never thought she would be able to secure a successful job with no qualifications but managed to prove herself wrong.
In NorthLink Ferries' first Staff Focus, we hear from Alex Lebert, Customer Services Manager.
Alex has a BA in Business Management, and following his graduation spent time travelling and ended up in Stromness. Despite initially struggling to find a job in line with his qualification, he was able to find a job with Northlink Ferries working in Customer Service and has never looked back.
NorthLink Ferries are operated by Serco, and they have three vessels on the Orkney and Shetland routes. Their ferries operate 363 days per year, providing a lifeline service to the northern isles.
To learn more about some of the careers with NorthLink Ferries, as well as some of the opportunities to develop and gain qualifications while working, read their Business Focus.
Orkney College UHI is one of 13 academic partners that make up the University of the Highlands and Islands. They deliver a wide range of courses spanning the entire Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). In practice that means all levels of qualifications from working with young people still in school right through to postgraduate research.
There is something for everyone at Orkney College UHI, meaning you don’t have to leave the island to pursue qualifications.
You can learn more about some of the opportunities available at Orkney College on their Education Focus below. They have also developed information sheets about the opportunities available in each of their departments, you can also view them at the links below.
In this video from Cooke Aquaculture, we hear from Shawn Alexander, a Processor in Cooke Aquaculture’s factory in Kirkwall.
Shawn is a former pupil of Kirkwall Grammar School and is undertaking a Modern Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Operations. In this film he tells us more about his role working in the packing station.
For more information visit www.cookeaquaculturescotland.com
In our next video from Cooke Aquaculture, we hear from Craig Drury who works as a Seawater Site Assistant with the company.
Craig is a former pupil of Stromness Academy, and learnt about careers with Cooke Aquaculture at a careers fair. In this film, Craig tells us a bit more about his role working with salmon and on the salmon farms.
For more information visit www.cookeaquaculturescotland.com
Cooke Aquaculture is a Scottish salmon producer who have seawater salmon farms in the waters around Orkney and offer opportunities to work on some of the outer isles. They also have a processing site in Kirkwall, where the salmon is prepared to be distributed around the world.
In this film, you will learn more about the company, some of the jobs available and the chances to gain qualifications through Modern Apprenticeships and other professional qualifications.
For more information visit www.cookeaquaculturescotland.com
Kerri, Karen, Findlay, Gemma and Samantha, our local Careers Advisers, have made this short video to introduce themselves and explain what they can do to support you.
They provide support to young people in secondary school or attending Orkney College UHI, young people who have left school and their all age service, which is open to everyone.
You can contact the team for advice face-to-face by visiting the Careers Centre on Albert Street, Kirkwall or by calling (01856) 872 460, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Skills Development Scotland have also produced a series of 'Next Steps' videos, which you can access via our website. These can help you prepare to move on into further education, training or employment and include useful advice and some activities to help you take your next step. View the videos here.
As a technology company, Kyloe are always on the lookout for people with great computer skills.
Even if you’re not a techie person, there are still lots of opportunities to get involved with Kyloe! They’ve recently recruited for roles in marketing, sales, and office management.
Since 2015 they've created 40 jobs (including developers, HR, marketing, accounts, sales, and technical support) within Orkney's community, tapping into some seriously underutilised talent!
Click on the image below to learn more about the roles they have.
“We need good people with the right attitude and enthusiasm to work for a forward-thinking technology company that has customers all over the world,” says Kyloe co-founder Stewart Morgan. “Our vision is about having a sustainable growing business, headquartered in Orkney, that has long term value for the recruitment industry, so if there’s anyone out there who thinks they can contribute to that vision, get in touch.”
Our next staff focus from the Community Learning and Development team at Orkney Islands Council, is from Richard Smith, CLD Team Leader.
When he was 16, Richard was part of a development programme with the Prince’s Trust, which sparked an interest in working in a similar role when he was older. He developed a love for music and went to Perth College to study Sound Production. Struggling to find a job in the music industry, he began working in sales and then applied for a volunteering opportunity in South Africa, volunteering at an orphanage for children affected by HIV, abuse and neglect. Another volunteering opportunity in India led to Richard studying Community Development at university. Richard then worked for colleges and his local council developing programmes for young people before moving to Orkney for his current role.
Next in our Social Media Takeover, we hear from Lindsey Johnson, the Employability Team Leader with the Community Learning and Development team within Orkney Islands Council.
After leaving school, Lindsey initially studied Aromatherapy and Reflexology at College before studying Podiatry at University while working part-time in a bar. After having a baby, she returned to night school to study for her Certificate in Education, alongside working as a Support Worker in the local college during the day. After achieving her Diploma in Education Lindsey became a Tutor at College, before working with Barnado’s. Following a move to Orkney, Lindsey started working at the Connect Project, eventually becoming the Project Co-ordinator, a role she did for 10 years. Alongside working, she also gained her Masters in Education in 2019. Lindsey moved to her current role in 2020.
Orkney Harbours Authority is responsible for the natural harbour at Scapa Flow and 29 piers and harbours around the islands. They operate their own tugs and launches. The inter isles ferry fleet, six airfields on the isles and have an in house marine environmental unit that monitor the waters around Orkney.
You can learn a bit more about the careers with Orkney Harbours Authority and the skills and qualifications they look for in their staff on their Business Focus.
Would you like to get a degree but not sure if University is for you?
A Graduate Apprenticeship gives you the chance to gain a degree, up to Masters level, while working. They combine academic knowledge with skills development.
Several universities in Scotland offer Graduate Apprenticeship programmes, including some who offer the chance for people in Orkney to take part via distanced learning.
For more information click here.
Many of the businesses taking part in our social media takeover offer Modern Apprenticeships to their staff. They are a great way to develop skills while working.
A Modern Apprenticeship can be undertaken by a school-leaver who is aged 16 years and over. You will be a full-time employee and your training will be undertaken while you work, meaning you can apply what you learn in a practical way.
There are over 100 types of Modern Apprenticeship available. If you want to find out more, read our Apprenticeship Focus below, speak to your Guidance Teacher or a Careers Adviser, or you can read more here.
Have you ever considered a Foundation Apprenticeship?
A Foundation Apprenticeship lets you undertake work-based learning while still at school to help you gain valuable experience and knowledge. They count as one of your subject choices and give you a qualification that is the same level as a Higher.
There are four subjects available in Orkney as a Foundation Apprenticeship: Business Skills, IT: Software Development, Social Services: Children & Young People and, Social Services & Healthcare.
You can find out more information about Foundation Apprenticeships in our Apprenticeship Focus below. You can also find information on this website, here, or by speaking to your Guidance Teacher, Careers Adviser or Orkney College UHI.
Visit www.apprenticeships.scot for more info.
In the final post from EMEC, we hear from Corrine Sinclair, Contracts Manager.
Corrine left school after her fifth year, going on to College in Kirkwall to study for an NC, which she failed. She then moved to Dunfermline to study for an HND and, after completing the course, she returned to work for a year out. She remained in Orkney for 12 years, undertaking a variety of jobs. When Corrine was 30 she applied to study Law at University in Glasgow where she graduated with the First Class Honours Degree. After15 years living away from Orkney, undertaking further study and qualifications, progressing in her career, she returned home and took up her current role with EMEC.
Corrine’s career journey shows that you can change your mind about what you want to do at anytime. So, even if you realise that one course or career choice isn’t for you, you can still find something that is better suited to your skills and interests.
Now we hear from Richard Ainsworth who tells us about his journey to his current job as US Project Engineer with EMEC.
Richard explains that his career path wasn’t straightforward. He studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, where he worked as a science communicator and developed a passion to help others understand the world around us. Following university, he lived and worked in New Zealand and Australia before returning to the UK to work with British Airways as an Aircraft Mechanic. Wanting to make a positive impact on the world, he returned to university, gaining his MSc in Marine Renewables Energy at Heriot-Watt ICIT in Stromness, before joining EMEC.
EMEC's next Staff Focus is Lara Santos Ayllon, who works as Stakeholder Engagement Officer at EMEC in Stromness.
Lara graduated with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and originally wanted to work in the political and activism sectors. However, her first role was an internship in a Communications and Public Relations agency which she saw as a chance to gain transferrable skills and learn more about the sector. This role helped her realise she wanted to change career direction into the energy and climate change arena and she undertook a Masters Degree in Energy, Society and Sustainability where she learnt about EMEC. When an opportunity came to work at EMEC, she applied straight away.
As part of EMEC's takeover of our social media, we hear from John Skuse who tells us about his job as Operations and Maintenance Manager and the journey he took to get there.
John started his career with a summer job in a maintenance department, that turned into a permanent role when he left school. By his own admission, he didn’t do well in school as he was more interested in taking things apart and putting them back together. However, he has gained qualifications alongside working through day release and night school. Experience has also helped him to develop some key employability skills such as team work, communication and management skills.