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.
Can you describe a typical day in your job?
Within our team I help to manage vessel deck capacity to support the shipment of freight like articulated trailers which carry items like supermarket or Amazon packages – as well as livestock, commercial vans and passenger cars. Daily, we work together with internal and external customers to align capacity with customer requirements. The fleet consists of five vessels, and the role also involves a degree of data analysis and reporting, so it’s usually a very busy day from start to finish.
How did you end up in this role?
I left Kirkwall Grammar School after Fifth Year, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next so I enrolled on the HNC Business Studies course at Orkney College as I thought it would be broadly applicable later down the line. After graduating I joined NorthLink Ferries in a Customer Service Assistant role. Three years later I became a Trainee Estimator for a local construction company before moving to Australia for a year to become a full-time Estimator. I returned to Orkney and again worked in customer service for a year before re-joining NorthLink as a Freight Co-ordinator for two years and latterly as Senior Freight Co-ordinator.
What is the best thing about your job?
Adverse weather and rough seas around Orkney and Shetland affect sailing schedules. When you implement a successful plan to counter the weather and meet customer requirements, although challenging it’s rewarding to see the positive impact that can be made.
What is the worst thing about your job?
In Orkney and Shetland adverse weather is very frequent.
What skills do you need to undertake your role?
Team working, communication, accuracy and attention to detail among many others. Working hard is as important as any though.
What qualifications do you have?
BA Business Management
HNC Business Studies
Higher English and Business Management
PADI Open Water Diver Basic offshore oil and gas certificates various role-related certificates like first aid, dangerous goods by sea, IOSH
You don’t need many if any of the above to get a job, but the Highers were key to getting my foot in the door at college, and the rest followed later in life!
Would you recommend this job to young people, if so why?
Working for NorthLink Ferries was a great place to begin my career and my current role has provided me with many opportunities to learn and grow.
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