Competence: Next-Gen

Delivering cutting edge solutions in competence management and developing a source of information for those starting out in the energy industry.


The Step Change in Safety Next Generation workgroup is an initiative set up to engage the next generation of energy sector workers in competence and embed safety culture from the start of their careers. The group comprises of young professionals from our member companies who work alongside the Competence workgroup to deliver cutting edge solutions in competence management and develop a source of information for those starting out in the energy industry.

Step Change in Safety's Competence Workgroup was eager to ensure competence for our next generation of energy workers. To this end the 'Next Gen' Workgroup was formed consisting of young professionals from member organisations from a range of different backgrounds and companies. This group has been looking at a range of short, mid and long term projects including creating informative profiles to inspire the next generation, a support pack of Step Change in Safety information to support new entrants and looking at future digital tools including augmented reality.

The Next-Gen is primarily aimed at senior secondary pupils, college and university students, apprentices and new entrants to the industry who may still be finding their feet and can use this information to establish a solid foundation in energy safety and competence.


Meet the Competence: Next-Gen workgroup members

  1. Laurene Hay
    Laurene Hay
    Graduate Project Engineer

    I studied Mechanical and Offshore Engineering and Robert Gordon’s University in Aberdeen graduating in 2016, then went on to study an MSc in Project Management. Once graduating from university I worked as a Compliance Engineer for a small manufacturing company before joining the TechnipFMC Graduate scheme in 2018. The graduate scheme has given me the opportunity to work in different disciplines within the business, provided me with various offshore trips on different work scopes and vessels from DSV’s to pipelay.

    The requirements of every project are different so when preparing for a work scope all the safety criteria have to be re-assessed. My job role includes assisting HSE advisors to produce a HIRA document which is then reviewed by the PMT, Operations Team and the Client as a group. This ensures the work scope about to be delivered is fully understood and all risks have been assessed collaboratively to ensure the safe delivery of the project. For anyone aspiring for a career in safety, I would recommend they look out for associate/training schemes where possible. If not possible, individuals should try to look for small experiences or training within current job role or look for any e-learning courses that will show enthusiasm for a career in safety and potentially offer further opportunities.

  2. Briony Macaulay Donn
    Briony Macaulay Donn
    Graduate process engineer

    After graduating from the University of Aberdeen in 2018 with a degree in Chemical Engineering, I undertook an internship in Colombia for a pharmaceutical company and spent some time travelling in South America. I then returned to Aberdeen to join Worley as a Technical Safety Engineer.

    Since then, I have worked on various brownfield projects in the North Sea and AGT regions before recently moving into a Process Engineering role. How my job role incorporates Safety: A key part of my job is ensuring safety in design in line with best practice procedures and I have attended various safety reviews (HAZID, HAZOP, LOPA etc). Safety can form an integral part of all roles in the Oil & Gas industry if you have a personal drive to build a strong safety culture.

    The industry is at an exciting turning point in terms of digitisation and the energy transition and, as a member of Step Change in Safety Next Generation group, I hope to get involved with upcoming safety movements involving emerging technologies to build a safer workplace.

    View Linkedin Profile
  3. Ranald MacKinnon
    Ranald MacKinnon
    Graduate Instrument Engineer

    Safety, or more specifically the culture of safety has been something I was moderately aware of going back to my teenage years working part time jobs in hotels and restaurants. It wasn’t until my later years studying Instrumentation & Control Engineering at Teesside Uni in Middleburgh that I was made aware of the importance of safety and the consequences of a lack of safety culture. This was further cemented into me during my masters at Glasgow Caledonian Uni where I spent some time studying several catastrophes across varying industries as well emerging tools used in industry that categorize risks and hazards.

    I am fairly new to the oil & gas industry having joined Worley’s graduate scheme at the end of 2019. My current job as an instrument engineer has me thinking of safety at almost every decision. This is the primary reason I chose to get involved in Step Change in Safety and further expand my knowledge and help others grow and maintain a conscious and competent safety mindset. Through my participation of hazard and operability studies and layer of protection analysis, I managed to gain a deep insight as to the impacts (human, environmental and commercial) of many failure scenarios of the projects I am working on. The bit of advice I would give to anyone wishing to peruse a successful career in safety would be to familiarize yourself with past accidents or disasters within your sector. Really get a good understanding of what occurred and why. It’s important to have a good appreciation of the reasons safety is so important and the consequences if regulations and procedures are not followed.

  4. Graeme Reid
    Graeme Reid
    Graduate Project Engineer

    I joined the oil & gas sector in 2017 and have four years Project Engineering experience working for TechnipFMC in the Aberdeen office. Experience includes exposure to the TechnipFMC graduate training scheme, gaining broad experience from working in many different facets within the business; including time spent offshore on a variety of vessels across several different projects (over 320 days spent offshore to date). I am responsible for contributing to the safe delivery of subsea construction projects in both the North Sea and Mediterranean. In my role I am required to optimise the design of equipment and the associated installation philosophy to reduce the risk of injury or damage to personnel and subsea assets. Responsible for conducting and presenting multiple risk assessments, ensuring suitable control measures are in place. The 7 C’s represent an array of factors that have been statistically proven to be the cause of many previous incidents within our industry. By focusing on good practice in these areas, the 7 C’s can be used to improve safety culture and prevent them becoming factors in future incidents. The 7 C’s therefore represent a useful check when risk assessing both routine and non-routine operations. For anyone aspiring to have a successful career in safety, I would recommend liaising with their line manager to ensure practical experience is obtained whilst working in health and safety. If a role in safety is initially unavailable, I would suggest that the candidate seeks and applies for an operational role within the respective company. Having a strong operational skillset is extremely beneficial and desirable for anyone aspiring to have a career in safety.

  5. Wallace Rodger
    Wallace Rodger
    Graduate Engineer
    Add Energy

    I graduated from Robert Gordon’s University in 2020 obtaining a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on renewable energy sources. I then accepted a role at ADD Energy employed as a Graduate Engineer, working on an asset management project for a client based in Nigeria. A key element of safety in my role is SIL (Safety Integrity Level) analysis. Whilst building client asset hierarchies each piece of equipment receives a SIL rating. This enables us to categorise the equipment according to the magnitude of the process risk (factoring effects on safety, environment, and asset). The SIL rating will affect the maintenance applied on equipment, for example the frequency of function tests throughout the equipment lifecycle.

    Currently, as a recent graduate, my experience and training in safety in industry are relatively limited. However, safety was a very common theme in the core learning of my degree, spanning from theoretical calculations to implementing safety procedures. In addition, I was involved in completing risk assessments for practical projects. This cemented the importance of safety in the engineering sector from the beginning of my education. As a result of a want to expand my knowledge and experience in safety I chose to apply to become a member of the Step Change in Safety Next Gen workgroup.

    The main piece of advice I can give to anyone who intends to have a career in safety is to expose yourself as much as you possibly can to develop your knowledge and experience in this field. This exposure can come in many forms, such as getting involved in safety related projects at work, research into safety aspects of your sector/processes, completing training (formal/e-learning) or joining a workgroup such as the Next Gen group.

  6. Kirsten Downie
    Kirsten Downie
    Graduate Project Engineer

    Kirsten is a Graduate Project Engineer at Worley


    I graduated in Summer 2020 from Robert Gordon University with a degree in International Business Management. Throughout my degree, Safety was never something at the forefront of my mind. However, after taking on my first role in the Oil and Gas Industry, I quickly realised the importance of Health and Safety and the responsibility we all have, regardless of our roles, in ensuring everyone returns home from their work healthy and unharmed.

    How my job role incorporates safety:

    In my role as a Graduate Project Engineer at Worley, health and safety intertwines in every discussion one way or another. From a non-technical perspective, I believe I am responsible for ensuring the right discussions are being held and issues are being raised in an open and collaborative environment. My role is focused on the cost and schedule of projects however, safety must always come first and never be compromised. In an onshore role, it is important to consider the welfare and well-being of those offshore, and understand that everything we do, impacts them.

    Why I got involved in NextGen:

    As a recent graduate who is new to the industry, I believe it is just as important to contribute to the improvement of health and safety in the sector as someone who has multiple years’ experience. Being part of the Step Change in Safety NextGen group gives me the opportunity to learn more about how we can communicate safety messages whilst the industry continually adapts and changes. I believe young people starting out in the industry may feel inexperienced and uncomfortable to challenge others and speak up about safety issues, however I think a group such as NextGen will empower young people to take action to protect themselves and their colleagues.

Links to what Step Change does and its wider benefits within our industry.

Links that show what a future safety career could look like in the industry.

Links to energy transition; sustainability; future energy markets.

A century after the global transition from wood to coal fuelled he industrial revolution, there was a transition to oil and gas that powered the global transport revolution and gave rise to chemicals and plastics. We’re now living through the world’s third transition. A transition towards cleaner more sustainable energy solutions.

It is no secret that the impact of our growing global energy consumption is having a disastrous effect on environment and climate. This awareness and acceptance is finally driving the next great energy transition – Clean Energy!

Lower emissions energy sources are required immediately but reducing emissions is not the only driver of this transition. With advancements in technology and manufacturing, renewable energy is becoming the cheaper source of electricity in many cases and changes in consumer behaviour and investor pressor is also contributing to a financial driver.

For more information on this historic transition, please explore the following resources from our partners and further afield:


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