Officer training offers flexible career path
Trading foreign battlefields for a new love of flexibles, a former British Army officer demonstrates the significant role that transferable skills can play in addressing the skills shortage within the oil and gas industry.
Nigel Anderson spent the last decade in the Armed Forces, working as a cavalry officer in The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. In addition to leading soldiers on active service in Afghanistan, he participated in many exercises in Canada, Germany, the UK and most recently as a principal adviser to The Royal Jordanian Armed Forces.
The 35-year-old has now joined Aberdeen-based FlexTech, a leading flexible pipe and marine hose consultancy, taking a multi-faceted projects and business development role.
He said: “The skills I honed as an officer have helped me adapt to the new role in the oil and gas industry. Previously having worked in demanding, dynamic and frequently hostile environments has helped to develop my leadership and management skills, and the ability to think strategically under pressure, while successfully getting the job done.”
With the energy sector striving to close the gap on the growing skills shortage, many oil and gas companies are recognising the benefits of recruiting ex-military servicemen and women, who bring with them an extensive range of transferable skills and global experiences.
Nigel is a leading example of this. He began his military career spending a year in officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After successfully completing this world-class leadership, management and personal development course, he joined The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards as a tank commander and troop leader before climbing the ranks to operations manager.
Throughout his 10 years touring Germany, Canada and Afghanistan, Nigel gained not only life experience, but vital management skills as direct line manager for 110 staff, while also leading a specialist team and motivating and mentoring a battalion of Afghan officers and soldiers.
Nigel achieved significant successes, both personal and professional, throughout his military career, which has bolstered his career progression. In 2008 he was awarded the US Military Outstanding Volunteer Service and US Army Commendation medal for delivering aid to local people in Northern Afghanistan. This led to him being selected as the captain in charge of the Queen’s Royal Guard at Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, personally hosting Her Majesty during several private functions.
Although Nigel thrived in his position, having achieved all he set out to in the Army he decided to take on a new challenge. His final stretch in the army saw him spend two years in Amman, Jordan, where he held the position of senior staff officer adviser at The Royal Jordanian Military Academy, setting up bespoke training for Jordanian special forces and working as project manager to the general in charge of the Royal Jordanian Military Academy.
Nigel said: “Having spent almost a decade in the Army, and having achieved everything I set out to accomplish, I decided I needed a fresh challenge. The oil and gas industry provided me with an exciting opportunity to develop my existing expertise, whilst at the same time allowing me to learn a new skill set.
“I find the scale and scope of the industry fascinating and, having joined FlexTech, I look forward to working on new challenges and maximising the opportunities presented by working within a professional dynamic organisation.”
“The team at FlexTech has considerable experience working across many disciplines in the industry, yet has the ability to remain adaptable whilst gaining the most from everyone’s different backgrounds and skills. I am looking forward to my future at FlexTech and, above all, contributing to the growth and success of the company and industry in the years to come.”