I have been aware of AYP for a number of years. It captured my intrigue and interest but I continued to watch from a far without taking the plunge and getting actively involved.
During my early career, I have been fortunate to benefit from a number of formal and informal mentor and coaching relationships. During my time with Strategic Resources and Proserv, mentors have helped me understand my strengths and, more importantly, recognise my ‘opportunities for development’…I used to call these weaknesses! I recognise how their counsel and advice has positively affected my development and remain grateful for this support.
The AYP mentor scheme was therefore naturally attractive because of the positive mentoring experiences I’ve had to date. What particularly excited me, however, was the idea of a completely new viewpoint from someone who did not know me or the company I work for – an objective, agnostic, fresh standpoint.
The other main motivation for applying to the programme was because I had recently undertaken a management role, responsible for a small team. In order to support and develop my team in the best way possible, I wanted to ensure I was a stronger best version of myself – which meant not just realising my shortcomings but doing something about them!
Upon applying to the programme, I was blown away by the standard of mentors AYP had been able to attract and knew I would benefit from working alongside any of them. Before reading Stacy Edghill’s bio, her name was already familiar to me. I had seen Stacy’s presence on social media, recognised her name from delegate lists at networking events and seen her name in the media. One of the reasons I identified Stacy as the mentor I most wanted to work with was because many of her strengths are areas which I find challenging. The skills, however, are key to my role and critical to my career development.
Stacy has taken time out of her hectic schedule to learn about me and what I am hoping to get from the programme. We have already started working towards achieving these goals. I am just at the beginning my journey on the on the mentor scheme with Stacy but I already see the benefits it is and will continue to yield.
I am delighted I finally pushed myself to get involved with the programme and look forward to continuing to benefit from Stacy’s support and guidance.
I first heard about the AYP Mentor Scheme through LinkedIn and I immediately thought this is something that I’d be able to benefit from.
I initially met with Steve White, Subsea Operations Advisor at Apache North Sea (also an AYP Mentor) who was very helpful in providing me with additional information on the mentor scheme and how to apply.
I attended the AYP Ball in March 17 where I had the opportunity to meet previous mentors and mentees, discover more about the mentor scheme and how worthwhile it had been for both parties.
I’ve been working in Recruitment for almost 5 years within the Oil & Gas industry, and I’m at a point in my career where I want to push myself and do the best to my ability, and thought who’s best to learn from than Ross Jolly himself – AYP founder / Director of Deemount Consulting and UAV (Drone) company Aeroserv.
I approached Ross to be my mentor as I’m looking for a role model, someone I can look up to in the recruitment industry. As he’s an experienced global recruitment professional, having both in-house and contract recruitment exposure, I believe his guidance and support will be highly valuable whilst sharing both knowledge and past experiences with me.
I was fortunate enough for Ross to agree to be my mentor and we got a development plan in place and started almost immediately back in April. So far Ross and I have been working on recruitment strategies, best practices, and building my confidence - with lots more to learn along the way. I’m prepared to learn and progress throughout the mentor scheme, receiving regular feedback, whether it’ be positive or constructive.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Ross for his time so far, and I look forward to working with him along the way.
Sometime we just need someone to listen and offer a bit of advice, sometimes we need the support and guidance of someone that has been there and that’s where I was at when I applied to the AYP mentoring scheme in May of this year.
My career has taken real turn originally a banker for 15 years I took voluntary redundancy in Oct 2013 just as I became a mum again to baby Reece. In 2014 when I was ready to return to the world of work again I wanted to use my banking skills but wasn’t really keen to return to the world of finance. After a few tough months of searching I suddenly landed two offers of employment on the same day – office administrator for a law firm or PA to Thor Holt Ltd. I am still delighted to say I chose the role with Thor and with his support and guidance I eventually found myself in a business development role for the company. Fast-forward three years and with the Oil & Gas downturn still in full stride I have moved into a Business Development and Marketing role with RCP Ltd.
Whilst I am comfortable building relationships and getting out there to meet new people the Oil & Gas industry can be a real minefield and despite a great network both face to face and within LinkedIn I felt I needed some support from those on the inside. Following a conversation with Finlay Johnston of Diamond Drilling he suggested I applied for an AYP Mentor.
AYP founded by Ross Jolly back in 2009 brings together young professionals either working or based in Aberdeen. So off I set to apply for a mentor originally with a couple of people in mind I completed my application chose my 3 preferred and sent it back for consideration. I am was delighted when just over two weeks ago I was appointed my Mentor and set about arranging to meet.
Last Friday I met my Mentor to be Ken Salmon, I was nervous, excited and slightly apprehensive as to what to expect from the meeting. Instantly Ken made me feel at ease he’d certainly done his homework prior to the meeting and had a great understanding of who I was but was keen to find out what I was looking to gain from the experience.
“A bit of guidance, support and the best way to use my time. I’d also like a greater understanding of the industry”
And so my mentoring experience has begun I can’t wait to see where it takes me and as Ken said he is sure we can learn something from one another.
Follow my journey as a mentee with further updates soon….
I first came across AYP through a family friend. I didn’t fully understand the mentor process, I just knew I wanted a helping hand in career progression and in life. What does the word mentor mean? The dictionary describes it as “A wise and trusted councillor or teacher“ however this explanation does not do it justice. A mentor is someone who overseas your goals and ambitions and helps you reach every single one, someone who can guide and provide you with experienced intellect. Someone who can give you that kick in the back side when needed.
I remember reading Finlay Johnston’s blog and was interested in meeting him. I recently began a role within Business Development which of course can have its difficulty’s especially in the current climate.. So with Finlay being in Business Development and marketing I felt I would benefit most from someone who has experienced the hurdles I have faced. Our first conversation was about telephone and door to door sales, Finlay told me about his first “selling” role within retail banking and how he progressed into commercial banking. That sealed the deal for me.
Finlay has taught me a lot about how to build relationships, how to work smart, how to be proactive with each lead or potential client. His knowledge is truly priceless. Over the next few weeks I’m attending a networking event with Finlay, I am really looking forward to increasing my profile and meeting new people to build relationships with. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for all his time so far and helping me progress. Finlay is a great guy and I can’t wait to continue this journey with him. I hope every mentee is having a fantastic time growing with their mentor. Exciting times ahead!
Looking to excel my career and broaden my network, I started attending Aberdeen Young Professional events in 2015. I enjoyed the discussions and presentations offered during the events but I was unsure of the networking aspects surrounding them (I was quite cynical of their benefits and success). Having enjoyed previous events, I decided to attend the 2016 AYP Meet the Mentors event where I met and spoke with a range of the mentors (and others) throughout the night.
I was lucky enough to be chosen by Neil Smyth, construction director for Morrison construction, as I am looking to create a similar career path to what Neil has created for himself. I hope to draw on his experience and knowledge from within the industry to begin better shaping my career. Similarly to Neil, I am willing to learn and progress by covering any field that is required, often learning by the mistakes you make along the way.
Following the selection/pairing process our interactions have been limited due to an array of personal and work commitments we have been unable to truly begin the mentoring process. Committing to the AYP mentor scheme in May, I didn’t expect to find difficulties to commit to an hour or so every fortnight/month to meet over a coffee. While we have not been able to meet my mentor, I have been critically analysing my progress on weekly and monthly basis. While I discuss these to a certain degree with my manager, I am looking forward to extending these discussions with my mentor.
We have been able to set a date in the calendar in the coming weeks and I am looking forward to meeting him. In preparation for meeting my mentor I have been setting goals and expectations for the scheme to agree a programme to set some benchmarks against. I am sure when we meet these will be refined to a mutual agreement to map a progression plan for the remaining 9 months or so (hopefully our relationship can extend beyond the limits of the AYP mentor scheme).
I first heard about the AYP Mentor Scheme through a friend and after spending some time researching it and reading about the mentors,
I was really interested in working with Neil Smyth. I was drawn to working with Neil due to his vast experience in the Construction industry over many years. Currently just starting my 5th year of my Architecture degree and just having finished a year of placement at an architectural firm in Edinburgh,
I knew that having an outside source with more practical experience would be of great help this year. Having been based in Edinburgh until a few weeks ago, this made scheduling meetings with Neil a little bit difficult, however I haven’t seen this as a setback in our progress as we have still been in touch and had a face to face meeting where we got to know each other and set out what we would like to achieve this year.
Neil and I have plans to meet up together shortly with his other mentee too. I first envisioned my time with Neil being more focussed construction and architecture but after the first meeting, I quickly realised he will also be mentoring me in management and the importance of good communication skills within the industry.
Neil has already given me some invaluable advice, has arranged with me to visit some sites with a QS from Morrison Construction and has pushed me to work outside of my comfort zone.
Having a mentor through the Aberdeen Young Professional’s Scheme is proving invaluable. What initially drew me to my now mentor, Murray Kerr – Managing Director SengS, was his enthusiasm, drive and passion for his work. I had read an interview; Press and Journal 2014: How I got where I am today, and knew that I had to speak with him. Although we both work in different industries, I share his outlook on career development and am confident he will be able to provide guidance and fuel my determination to meet my goals.
On the AYP Finalist night unfortunately, due to work commitments Murray was not able to attend. The night was still highly beneficial as I got to speak to many other inspirational finalists and individuals including Heather Sharkey – Commercial Director at EC_OG and Steve White – Subsea Operations Advisor at Apace North Sea, both whom I feel would be at the end of a phone if I ever needed advice.
I still wanted to speak with Murray so we arranged a call and sussed out whether the mentor relationship would be beneficial. Even from one phone call I could tell that Murray and I would get along, he was very open and honest and I could tell he wouldn’t be afraid to give me some home truths if needed. Sometimes, it is good just to have an outside perspective.
During out first face-to-face meeting, at the Return To Scene offices, I was able to show Murray exactly what my job entailed. Giving him demonstrations on the R2S Software and Services that I provide to the Forensic and Law Enforcement industries. Prior to our meeting Murray had provided me with questions so that he could gauge my career aspirations and worries, which we ran through. He was very supportive and honest about everything I told him and we put a plan of action into place for the coming weeks to help me hit those goals. This wasn’t by any means a one sided conversation and it provided me with a real insight into how Murray saw this relationship developing too.
We decided a good place to start would be personal branding and looking at the bigger picture. It was evident that what I had showed Murray during our meeting wasn’t being portrayed online, through outlets such as LinkedIn, so my first goal was to get more information out there so that people had a clearer understanding of what I do. I am now more conscious of my personal brand and aim to build it over time, alongside my goals, to progress my career.
Something I am passionate about is inspiring the next generation into careers such as Science and Technology and although I have done a little of this through guest lecturing at Robert Gordon University I felt that I could do more. I had read about STEMNET ambassadors, volunteers who engage children in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, but had never taken the next step to join them. I spoke to Murray about this and he said, just do it, if you are willing to do something you will find a way to get over any obstacles. This has stuck with me, as one of my personal obstacles is self-doubt through nerves, the only way to get past this is to do more, present more and speak about the things that I know inside out and with each time I will build my confidence. So I have taken my first steps and had my STEM induction, I am now just waiting for the final sign off before I can start volunteering – watch this space!
I have my next meeting with Murray coming up and I am looking forward to developing our relationship, which will hopefully be beneficial for both of us.
Murray Kerr: “In first reading Laura application for this program I was really impressed with Laura’s career path and wanted to know more on exactly what her job entailed, furthermore was impressed with her enthusiasm she had shown in the application for this program.
Over the last few months, I have set certain goals for Laura and on every occasion Laura has excelled in completing these tasks. Her ambition and enthusiasm for work is infectious and over the last few months I have noticed Laura is becoming more focused and confident.
I am looking forward to continuing this journey and see where it takes us.”
“I was unfortunately unable to attend the AYP Mentor event at the beginning, business called, new contract to tender. So luckily Heather Sharkey, our commercial director, did a sterling job of presenting my case as to why I should be chosen as a mentor. As the days, then weeks, passed no one had contacted me or chosen me as a mentor. Others had been paired up and I was feeling left out and really disappointed. Then, out of the blue, I get a message that Yekemi wants to meet me. Heather says she has met her at the event and she is energetic and intelligent, then proceeds to hand me her CV. When I read it, I’m not sure who is going to be mentoring who.
We meet and Yekemi explains what she wants to do, a new venture using her business, marketing and engineering skillsets all combined. She explains where she is in terms of the business and I realise I can offer some useful advice as she is just setting off on her journey. We have had 3 meetings face-to -face and social events as we increase her network. The face-to-face meetings have focused around her business plan, now after some refinement it is looking like a document which gives proper direction to the business. She has refined her target markets, worked her USP, created a realistic cash flow, realised where she was under (and over) selling and really begun to build a strategy on how to maintain her clients alongside growing the business. The great thing is that she is working this out for herself and that’s what it’s about, putting it out there, thinking it over, bouncing it around and making a plan to be executed.
I must admit I was a little nervous about mentoring someone when I still hadn’t really got my own business truly established. I then thought about the mentoring that I had been offered. For me, it had been great but most of the mentors were already very successful, money in the bank, pension pot filled, mortgage paid off, gone through the whole start up thing a long time ago, mostly remembering the rosy bits. My company and I are a long way off that. Yekemi is only 3 years behind where we currently are which means a lot of what she will go through will still be fresh in my mind. Her business may well surpass mine and at some point the roles will reverse but in the meantime I’m enjoying giving all the help and advice I can, even if it is sometimes is just saying, “things will work themselves out”. Yekemi is a great person to mentor, I think the next year is going to be a lot of fun.”
“I had nearly given up on the idea of an ideal mentor. That was until I met Rob Cowman through the AYP Mentor Scheme earlier this year.
My first meeting with Rob was at the engineering company he co-founded, East Coast Oil & Gas. Rob is the Engineering Director. The fact that Rob is an engineer who founded his own company makes an ideal combination that came together by chance. You see, I am an engineer who has moved across several commerical roles in business development and strategic marketing with companies like Schlumberger, GE Oil & Gas and Lloyd’s Register. I have recently started my own strategic marketing consultancy, YO! Marketing, working with engineering, manufacturing and technology companies to strengthening the use of digital technology and marketing data in achieving business goals.
In our first meeting, Rob came across as genuine, and friendly. We discussed my plans for my business, my target market and how I might refine my solution to be most attractive to engineering firms. I found Rob to be easy to talk to and I had a sense that he will always be honest with me, whether it was what I wanted to hear or not.
True enough, Rob offered his honesty to me when I turned up at our second meeting with my business plan. For me, it was the first time I was allowing someone to sense-check my ideas. The first draft of my business plan felt like the birth of something I had carried for a long time. Showing it to Rob was nerve-wrecking, and a relief at the same time.
The discussion with Rob that day was the most valuable one I had about my business. He pointed out areas I needed to give more thought, and he offered advice about what I might prioritise in the early stages of my business. He helped me develop a punchier message for my target audience by asking me challenging questions that I couldn’t have asked myself. Rob being is an engineer has proven to be a gift. He is my target audience so his perspective has been very valuable in honing my solution to my target market. On the financial side, Rob is able to look at my cash flow forecast and tell to me multiply a line item by 1.5 to be more realistic. Which brings me to another reason I have the ideal mentor. Rob knows what it takes to start a company in Aberdeen. His insight on what things will cost me and mistakes I could avoid have really helped me get off to a promising start.
In our most recent meeting, I expressed concern to Rob about the new insights I was getting from meetings with potential clients. These insights suggested a slight tweak to my offering and being a perfectionist, I felt uneasy about making changes to my “perfect” solution. Rob assured me that it was exactly what starting a business was about. He gave me examples from when he started and the changes he made as new market intelligence became available. “It’s all about hearing out the market and changing,” he said. Even though I knew this as a marketer, somehow, I needed to hear it. Now I feel confident to take the necessary steps to move forward with my company.”