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Neil Cuthbert, Senior Engineer, Atkins


Senior Engineer

Business area: Oil and Gas
Job title: Senior Engineer
Years at Atkins: 7.5

How does your work benefit the end user?

My work is predominantly in the UK sector of the Oil and Gas Industry (the Atkins Oil & Gas business).
In my current role I provide structural integrity asset management consultancy services for a wide range of UKCS shelf oil exploration companies, ranging from supermajors to independent operators. We help the end user reduce costs and structural risk while maximising oil and gas production, minimising downtime and improving safety and environmental performance in the face of ever-ageing infrastructure. We use innovative tools and bring efficient systems for integrity management. The extraction of finite fossil fuels is not sustainable, however my work helps to maximise the recoverable reserves from existing facilities, hence securing further energy supplies for the UK. This helps to generate jobs, investment, infrastructure and revenues for government and local communities, thus contributing to social and economic aspects of sustainability. My skills are transferable to the offshore renewables sector in which Atkins is also playing a major role, and helping the transition to cleaner energy supplies.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Being a civil engineer in the energy industry is an exciting career choice. The energy industry offers an interesting backdrop with respect to politics, sustainability, economy, and so on.
I am involved in the oil and gas industry which is extremely fast paced and delivery driven. The engineering challenges are interesting, varied and often not repeated. Things change on a daily and sometimes hourly basis - this is exciting and provides plenty of variety in your day. We are now also seeing more decommissioning work in the North Sea which adds a further dimension. I am currently working on the biggest (by weight) decommissioning project in the North Sea which will see a 44,000tonne topsides removed, taken ashore and recycled.

My current role occasionally involves going offshore to perform structural inspections/surveys of oil platforms. This is a unique ‘out of office’ experience, after all how often do you go to work on a petrochemical facility in the middle of the North Sea which also doubles as a hotel and heliport.

What do you think has had the biggest impact on your career development to date?

The training and on the job development provided by Atkins has no doubt had the biggest impact on my career development to date. A lot of emphasis is placed on this with mandatory personal development conversations.
I joined as a graduate in 2011, and with the help and support of the Atkins development programme have progressed to a Senior Engineer. This has included professional qualification with the ICE, achieving CEng in Autumn 2015.

Everywhere you look in Atkins there are industry leaders. You can benefit from this wealth of knowledge on a daily basis and I don’t expect my development and career progression to end. With easy access to the industry’s leading lights, every day is a school day! In addition to the training and development support offered, the wealth of opportunities created by the Atkins business and now wider SNC-Lavalin group is fabulous.

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