Small companies can offer big opportunities.
Moving to a different country to start a new life is a daunting prospect. IT consultant Muhamad Farooq Durrani and his wife, Ayesha, did just that in 2006 when they left their home in Pakistan and came to the UK.
The family now have two young boys, age nine and two, and have been in the UK for 10 years. Farooq, 37, has spent nearly all of that time in Aberdeen working with Absoft and is now a principal SAP consultant based in an on-site role working with SAP software.
“When I came to the UK I spent some time in London. I had some contacts and looked at jobs,” he said.
“We thoroughly love living in Aberdeen, even if it is a bit cold here.”
Farooq came to the UK as part of the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme which was to encourage skilled workers to the UK. At the time, Farooq was based in Pakistan and did his education and training there, which included a bachelor’s degree in computer software engineering and an SAP certification.
A few of his friends also applied to the programme, which was an immigration category for entry to the UK for people with sought-after skills. It has now been replaced by Tier 1 of the UK’s new point-based system.
Farooq said: “We were working in the SAP industry in Pakistan and came here to explore the market. SAP in Pakistan wasn’t as established as in the UK.
“We were looking for opportunities and the first challenge was to get into the UK market. When I started my career at Absoft, it was a big boost for me.
“Absoft encourages you to work in other areas for personal development and it gives us the chance to learn something new.”
He sought a job with Absoft first as an SAP Development Consultant in the programming team and has progressed within the company. He has led the SAP development team at the company’s Aberdeen base and has also worked on-site for Total and Conoco Phillips as an SAP supply chain consultant. He is now currently a principal consultant in Absoft’s supply chain team.
The software Farooq works with is an integrated software and is used by many companies to manage the logistics of running an organisation. Farooq engages with these companies to help them improve their processes which has given him the chance to advance his career and take on more responsibilities.
“I always wanted to move into business consultancy,” he said.
No two businesses are the same, according to Farooq. There are many variations and it is a whole new world for him with plenty of opportunities to learn and grow. Absoft has clients in many different industries. The downturn in the oil and gas industry in Aberdeen has opened more door for Absoft in other sectors, giving Farooq a lot of opportunities to develop his SAP skills and business process understanding further.
He said: “We have seen a change. Oil and gas was our main customer base. We have been very fortunate and can look at other industries and diversify. It has pushed us to look at other industries.
“Being in Aberdeen it is the main industry. With us, we can look at business outside the UK and it has encouraged us to expand our footprint.”
Farooq is a huge fan of cricket, following the Pakistan team while also playing in the Aberdeen Evening Cricket League for Shell Cricket Club. His ambition and determination shows through in his hobbies and he has climbed Ben Nevis, Snowdonia and Scafell Pike for charity.
Farooq said: “The sky is the limit. Every day is a new challenge with something new to learn.”