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 Glasgow University 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.
an you describe a typical day in your job?
I oversee all the contracts coming into and going out of EMEC. I review these contracts from a legal standpoint examining the risks and liabilities to EMEC. I sometimes draft (write) new contracts for the company. I also deal with legal enquiries from colleagues relating to contracts. For example: We have a contract for work. Something goes wrong and the contractor asks for more money than originally agreed. I must then assess the original contract and what was agreed and what happened to allow me to give advice.
How did you end up in this role?
Stayed at School until after Fifth Year: two Highers and eight Standard Grades
17 years old: Studied NC at Kirkwall College (Failed)
18 years old: Studied HND in Dunfermline (Passed)
18–19 years: Returned to Orkney and drew house plans and title deeds for local surveyors (one year)
19–20 years: One year in Social Work, OIC as an Administration Assistant
20–21 years: Temped with various companies in Orkney including Radio Orkney (awesome job!), Flotta Oil Terminal and Orkney Islands Council
22–33 years: Benefits Agency then Jobcentre, Orkney. My job changed due to changes in government, and I no longer enjoyed my job, so I moved away to study and become a Solicitor. I worked the final three years in Glasgow Benefits Agency while studying for my Law Degree
30-34 years: Law degree in Glasgow – Passed with First Class Honours and two Awards
34-35 years: Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (DLP), Aberdeen (Passed)
34-35 years: Procurator Fiscal while undertaking my DLP in Aberdeen – Admin
35 years: Started PhD – Scholarship to Oregon, America to study/work three months
37 years: Large Corporate Law Firm as Trainee Solicitor in Glasgow (Passed)
37-45 years: Self-employed running own company as Lawyer undertaking consultancy services in Glasgow
45 years old–Current: The European Marine Energy Centre, Contracts Manager, Orkney
My first year following school in Kirkwall College I was still very immature and enjoyed hanging out with my friends. I didn’t pass my course although it wasn’t a difficult course. I saw my HNC as another chance to try harder.
In 1992, I went to Dunfermline College to study an HNC but, I missed my family and friends, so I came home to take a ‘year out’.
In 2003, I was extremely unfulfilled in my work, so I applied to Study Law and left Orkney in 2004 (12 years after my HNC). I lived in Glasgow for 15 years and had the most amazing experiences. I undertook internships in the European Parliament, Westminster and the Scottish Parliament as work experience.
I became very ill and had to return to Orkney for support. I was successful in attaining a job at EMEC, using my legal skills and working in a field I enjoy and am passionate about.
What is the best thing about your job?
There are too many things I love about my job to mention:
The management are fair, approachable, supportive and confidence building.
The atmosphere at work is very happy and everyone works together well.
The subject of my work is positive and assists in helping the environment and local economy both with green energy and creating employment.
What is the worst thing about your job?
I can honestly say there is nothing I dislike about my job. I’ve had a few jobs but none like this that I enjoy as much as I do and feel so rewarded by. This was not my chosen career path but sometimes the best things find you!
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
What qualifications do you have?
HNC in Business Administration
First Class LLB Honours
Diploma in Legal Practice
Notary Public (Only when I hold a practising certificate)
Various short courses and Scotvec modules
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
Solicitor: Less than half the class became solicitors. It was a good degree to become a teacher or move up in other professions such as the police or management. In order to stand out you had to do a lot of external work over and above your degree like internships or work experience in the holidays. You need to enjoy reading and analysing. Law is not about what’s fair or justice. Being a solicitor doesn’t mean you get paid loads. On my first day at university my senior lecturer said to us: “if you are here because you think you’ll earn loads or because you think law is about justice then… leave!” and that’s my advice to you. Do it because it interests you and because you enjoy reading, a challenge and are prepared to work hard, not for any other reason.
Renewables Professions: If you want to work in an industry that is developing and is forward thinking there are multiple roles you can find in renewables. It is an industry where people work together to develop new ideas, so it is generally full of enthusiasm. EMEC is a fantastic place to work and I’m proud to be part of a team undertaking pioneering work some of which is the first of its kind in the world. There are a few companies in Orkney that would offer a similar role. If you are interested in this sector, I’d recommend joining the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum where you’ll get support and lots of information about different jobs you could do and where offers them. All Energy is a huge international conference held annually in Glasgow and will show you different professions in this sector also.
Whatever you decide to do, do it because you enjoy it. And remember…You can change your mind anytime and retrain and/or move. You don’t have to decide what your lifetime ‘career’ is, it can be anything at any time!
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