From Banking to QHSE

A switch from a successful career in banking to a role as a technical assistant in the integrity management sector of the oil and gas industry might not seem like an obvious move, but it made sense to Paul Michael.

Paul started working in the banking industry while studying at university. Once he finished his studies, he moved to a full-time role as a bank teller. Fast forward a few years and Paul was an Assistant Bank Manager who found himself being headhunted by a rival bank to manage their new Aberdeen branch.

Paul explains, “The move was attractive because it was with a new bank in the industry and they promised to be different from the traditional banking norm. I had never been comfortable with being asked to sell credit cards and loans to people who didn’t need them in order to hit targets. I thought the move was to a bank with a different ethos, but this wasn’t the case, the pressure to achieve sales targets remained.

“So, at a time when I was feeling particularly disenchanted with banking I heard that PIM was looking for technical assistants and decided to apply.

The change to being a technical assistant meant a drop in responsibility and salary but this was made up for by a far better work life balance. I found that I was happy to come to work each day, this was a big change from working at the bank.”

Paul joined PIM in 2013 and spent two years working as a technical assistant. He was then asked whether he would be interested in taking on a part time HSE role with more responsibilities.

“I felt it was a good opportunity to develop my skills - I studied part time for my NEBOSH certificate - and it was also a good fit for the transferable skills I had acquired while working in the banking industry. I also have a unique perspective on safety and wellbeing in the workplace thanks to starting my career out with the oil and gas industry.”

As PIM has grown so has the HSE role. Paul is now PIM’s QHSE Manager. “Following a restructure, PIM’s HSE and quality management merged in to one role. This allowed me to focus on ensuring that not only is the quality of work delivered by PIM of a consistently high quality but that our people are looked after too. This is an extremely important aspect of the role for me, it was PIM’s approach to its people which first struck me when I joined the company, it was such a contrast to the workplace I had moved from. The next phase is to develop a fully integrated QHSE management system which will keep pace with the company’s growth.”

Looking to the future Paul plans to study for an MSc in Health, Safety and Risk Management. “The course would continue my professional development and help me to continue to grow with my role as PIM grows.”

Commenting on his role in relation to the current scenario, which sees many people working from home, Paul said, “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted that we can use modern technologies and innovations to make our jobs safer and more efficient. I am conscious that now, more than ever, we need to look after our people’s mental health as well as consider more technical issues such as the effective peer review of work to ensure that our high standards are being maintained.”