Emma Lee is currently a Geotechnical Engineer working in Aberdeen for Subsea 7.
How did you become interested in the marine environment?
I have always been interested and intrigued by the world in which we live and the different environments around us, hence why I made the decision to study Physical Geography and Geoscience at St. Andrews University. However it was through a summer placement with Subsea 7 that I focused my attention to the marine environment. I worked with Subsea 7 for three consecutive summers which gave me a fantastic insight into the subsea industry and confi rmed that it was this industry that I wanted to continue to explore upon graduation.
What was your entry route?
I graduated in June 2010 with a 2:1 BSc. in Physical Geography and Geoscience and secured a place on the Subsea 7 Engineering Graduate Scheme starting in September 2010.
How has your career progressed so far?
I completed the 2 year Graduate training programme last year and have progressed into my current role as a Geotechnical Engineer. Over the 2 year Engineering Graduate Scheme I was able to experience many different working environments, both onshore and offshore and within various roles; Geotechnical Engineer, Tender Engineer and Project Engineer. This opportunity to rotate around various departments broadened my knowledge and confi dence in various aspects of engineering as well as the wider oil and gas industry.
What are your main responsibilities/tasks?
As a Geotechnical Engineer I am responsible for all subsea infrastructure that is to be placed on to the sea floor. I assess the seabed conditions and deeper geology along pipeline/umbilical routes or site specifi c areas for proposed structures. I look at the interaction between the soils with the pipelines/structures and calculate geotechnical parameters which are then used in pipeline or structure design. The other aspect of geotechnical engineering is to look how we can protect pipelines or mitigate them from upheaval buckling. This can be done through the use of trenching or rockdumping activities.
What are the main qualities and skills you need to do your job?
Good communication is vital as you work with a variety of people on projects which change on numerous occasions. Willingness to learn is also an important skill and quality to have, especially for someone like me with a non-engineering background. The oil and gas industry has been going strong for decades and there is a wealth of engineering knowledge that needs to be passed on and learnt from.
Where do you see your career heading?
Only 2.5 years in… so I am not entirely sure! But one of the main attractions that I had to this industry was the opportunities to work in various countries around the world, so I am hoping one day I’ll be sat at my desk somewhere else in the world!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy working with lots of different people and having a variety of projects to get stuck in to! There’s not a dull day in the office! Do you have any tips for someone considering a similar career to yours? I think work experience is crucial, especially relevant to what you think you want to do. My first ever work experience was in an architect’s practice and although it was good fun, it made me realise a degree in architecture wasn’t for me. Thank goodness I did that work experience as it changed my decision on what to study and I have not looked back since!