What my job involves:
I am the Software Developer at Hydro Group, a global design and manufacturer of underwater cables and connectors for the subsea and defence sector. My responsibilities include building and maintaining the internal systems used in both the Aberdeen and Singapore office. The programmes I work on look after job tracking, stock control and traceability as well as cost forecasting.
Why did you choose a career in the oil and gas industry?
Growing up in Aberdeen I have always been surrounded by the oil and gas industry and those who have been able to succeed and make a name for themselves, inspiring me to work in the industry. However I wasn’t aware of how I would integrate my interest in computing with the industry, as I thought the industry involved working offshore on oil rigs.
Read the full article: Securing a job in the oil & gas industry amid the untimely downturn
Systems being deployed require reliable power and communications connections suited to meet these demands. The team at Hydro Group is being asked for increasingly complex composite and physically demanding cable designs. The days have gone when the company was simply asked to provide an underwater electrical connection.
Most subsea cables designed and manufactured at the company’s Aberdeen, Scotland, facility incorporate numerous specialist elements such as fiber optics, twisted pairs, triples or quads, coaxial, and high-frequency and very high-frequency components.
Read the full article: Exploring Subsea Cable Market
More than £50million has been raised to finance the initial stage (phase 1A) of the ground-breaking 398MW tidal array project in the Pentland Firth, Scotland, which involves four submerged turbines generating 6MW being installed as well as the construction of all onshore infrastructure to support the project.
Atlantis Resources, 86% owner of MeyGen Limited, has selected Hydro Group to supply the complete export connection system for one of the tidal turbines, and is currently finalising details for the second phase of the project.
Doug Whyte, Managing Director at Hydro Group said: “As the first of its kind in the world, the MeyGen project is a true milestone in the marine renewable sector, and being part of it is a significant step for Hydro Group, reinforcing our commitment to supporting renewable system requirements.”
The agreement, which commenced in March this year and is 80% complete, involves Hydro Group providing a single housing for a hybrid with a power output of 6.5kV, incorporating the power and communication connection system, mechanical loading system, and fibre optic and instrumentation lines.
Mr Whyte continued: “Our system is designed for 25 years’ service life with an in-built corrosion protection system meaning minimal maintenance is required and operational costs are reduced in the long term, a focus that is of high importance in the current climate.
“To ensure further savings, we design our systems to mate and de-mate - connect and disconnect - in less than one hour to ensure offshore installation costs, the highest cost in any marine infrastructure, are minimised.”
When fully completed, the MeyGen project will have the potential to provide clean, sustainable, predictable power for 175,000 homes in Scotland from up to 269 tidal turbines secured to the seabed, with the first power to the national grid expected to be delivered in 2016.
“The project should further enhance industry confidence in tidal energy, helping unlock its potential as a serious contributor to future energy systems.” concluded Mr Whyte. B
Involved from prototype concept through to design, manufacture and project management, Hydro Group manufactures the complete package including FAT at its state-of-the-art facilities in Aberdeen, Scotland; umbilical cables, electrical and optical connection systems / assemblies for data, power and signal transmission.
With the oil and gas sector still adjusting to the low oil prices, there are understandably a lot of anxious students with concerns about securing their first job within the industry.
Although many may feel disheartened by media reports about the current climate, a DEVEX 2015 seminar in May looking at How young professionals can cope during a reduced oil price, reported that there has in fact only been a 7% decline in graduate opportunities and internships within the industry.
Amongst those companies continuously striving to offer graduates the first crucial steps in their careers is Aberdeen-based Hydro Group, a global design and manufacturer of underwater cables and connectors for the subsea, renewable energy and defence sectors.
Irene Buxton, Human Resources Director, highlighted the company’s dedication to investing in the workforce of tomorrow. “Hydro Group has become an active hub for engaging and connecting students and young people with the working world. We have been investing in and encouraging graduates and young professionals to become involved with the industry for many years with a range of projects and schemes.
“By offering on-site visits through organisations such as SUT+, our association with the University of Poitier in France and our investment in training and apprenticeship schemes, we are helping to develop personal knowledge and competency standards which, in turn, benefit the company and industry as a whole.”
SUT+ is a complementary service provided by the Society for Underwater Technology which provides opportunities for graduates to see a working company within the sector, and to gain an understanding into the processes that go on behind industry projects.
Earlier this year, Hydro Group hosted a successful ‘lunch and learn’ event at its Aberdeen facility, in which 10 graduates and students received a tour, followed by a presentation of the company’s products, services and capabilities.
Ms Buxton continued: “The event was open to those already in work looking to expand their knowledge of the industry, and to graduates with little or no working experience. It provided the opportunity to see the different positions on offer and the ages of graduates, trainees and apprentices working here with a variety of different skills and qualifications.
“In September 2013 we took on Jonathan, a Mechanical Engineering Graduate, and over the past two years he has had the chance to work across various departments, providing him with the experience and skillset to develop as an engineer.
“Last year we gave a 10-month placement to Barry, a final year I.T. student who successfully achieved a First Class degree with Honours in Computer Networks Management and Design in May, and accepted a permanent contract of employment with the company. In addition to this we employed Isaac, a final year student from RGU, on a three month summer placement as part of his Mechanical Engineering degree course.”
Commenting on his experience Isaac said: “I have been given so many opportunities to work on new and exciting projects, including the chance to travel to France twice. I have been exposed to a variety of working environments, from the design office to industrial workshops, and even an offshore platform. This has given me a broad insight into what Hydro Group does, helping me to understanding how its products are designed, manufactured and applied, and providing a truly invaluable experience.”
Hydro Group’s affiliation with Poitiers University, located in West France, has been built up over six years, and has enabled the company to offer University students the opportunity to learn on the job - a highly effective way to gain industry experience and knowledge.
The 10-week placement, offered to one student annually, contributes towards their degree, whilst also providing hands on experience by allowing them to work on a specially designed project that requires involvement across departments and disciplines, seeing the project through from start to finish.
The programme not only benefits the visiting students, it also provides opportunity for Hydro Group management trainees to gain extra managerial or supervisory experience, by helping to guide the students through their projects.
“It’s not just newly appointed graduates who benefit at Hydro Group. We also provide opportunities for existing staff, by financing night classes and distance learning courses to gain qualifications in H.N.C, H.N.D and Degree subjects to develop and progress within the company,” concluded Ms Buxton.
Hydro Group believes that providing students with crucial opportunities to further their knowledge and experiences, whilst improving their CV in a competitive job market, ensures the stability and future of the company and subsea sector industries.
The company has offered its support by donating £800 towards much needed equipment and kit, supplying 30 signed players with tracksuits for match days and training.
Commenting on the donation, Auchnagatt Barons AFC manager and maintenance engineer at Hydro Group Mike Sim said: “We’re delighted with this gesture from Hydro Group, without it the club was in threat of folding, however with this support, myself and joint manager Stuart Brown have managed to turn the clubs fortune around and continue its success.”
Auchnagatt Barons AFC is a Scottish amateur football team based in Buchan, Aberdeenshire. Currently playing in the Aberdeenshire Amateur Football Associations (AAFA) 3rd Division, the club was founded in 1980, and previous to Mr. Brown and Mr. Sim taking over, had been run by the same manager for 35 years.
“We are currently sitting at the top of our division and are beating teams from higher leagues in cup competitions such as the Edmond Trophy and other Inter-Divisional cups. The new tracksuits will instil the team with a sense of pride, driving them to end the season at the top of our league” concluded Mr Sim.
Hydro Group’s relationship with the club stems from within the company, with four Hydro Group employees being heavily involved with the team.
Irene Buxton, HR director at Hydro Group said: “Our involvement with the club has positively bolstered both the Auchnagatt Barons team and Hydro Group. While taking the sport seriously, match days and training has allowed for colleagues from different departments to socialise with each other outside of the work place.
“We’re delighted to continue our support for the whole Auchnagatt Barons team and we wish them the best for the next session, the whole of Hydro Group will be supporting them all the way.”
The 2.5 by 1.5 metre vessel has the capacity to pressure test large cable assemblies and equipment up to 2,200psi, simulating depths of 5,000 feet below sea level.
Doug Whyte, Managing Director at Hydro Group said: “The six-figure investment into the cutting edge technology represents a significant addition to our current capabilities. The new pressure vessel offers a broader range of testing with a more accurate output, and helps further enhance the quality and scope of work we provide.”
Housed in the company’s Aberdeen headquarters, the equipment provides Hydro Group with the ability to design and pressure test complete cable assemblies built for deep waters projects, particularly for the subsea and defence industry.
Mr Whyte, continues: “Evolving our product offering and in-house expertise is paramount to supporting growing client demands. Our team has been trained to offer a complete testing facility and has the internal capability to provide a third party testing service to the wider market.
“The new hydrostatic vessel has allowed Hydro Group staff the chance to enhance their knowledge and skill sets, while adding to our current products, representing significant growth potential for the company.”
Further expanding its product offering and recent increases to capabilities has meant the creation of new jobs for Hydro Group. Staff numbers at the firm’s Aberdeen base rose to over 100 for the first time this year and projected turnover for 2015 is predicted to rise by 12% on £9 million, thanks to increased development in new and existing markets.
The project involves manufacturing and installation of the array cabling infrastructure on the SEM-REV marine renewable energy project 16 nautical miles offshore the city of Le Croisic on the French Atlantic coast.
Awarded by Ecole Centrale Nates (ECN), the six month contract, that commenced earlier this year, brings together a group of highly skilled companies led by ETPO (contract’s owner) comprising of Hydro Group, ETPO, Assystem, PSM, Tetis (ETPO subaquatic subsidiary) and Flowline Specialists. Hydro Group will install its marine renewable connectors, Hydro Bond Renewable Connector (HRC), and Power Distribution Hub (PDH) at the site later this year.
Hydro Group will be exhibiting its marine renewable energy products and expertise with support from the French regional consortium partners at the THETIS MRE (Marine Renewable Energy) Conference, Nantes, France, from the 20-21 May 2015.
Graham Wilkie, Sales Director at Hydro Group, said: “The project is a key offshore wave energy test site, and the consortium brings together first-class equipment, technology and expertise, all recognised by ECN as offering significant benefit and flexibility to its facility.”
The highly experienced consortium will supply and install the array cable, multi connection hub and interconnection necessary for the deployment of a network of floating and wave energy generating devices, with Hydro Group specifically supplying and supporting the installation of the array cable and connector sub-system for the wave energy test facility.
The consortium will also be working together with an additional Scottish supplier, Flowline Specialists, which will support the marine operations with cable handling and deployment equipment.
Mr Wilkie continued: “We’re delighted to be part of this key project, and believe that showcasing our capabilities in a joint venture will enable us to further build on our global success as a market leader in subsea manufacture and solutions for international marine and renewable customers.”
Hydro Group is at the forefront in the development and innovation of subsea product technologies, with involvement from prototype concept through to design, manufacture and project management. Hydro Group manufacture the complete package including FAT at its state-of-the-art facilities in Aberdeen, Scotland; umbilical cables, electrical and optical connection systems / assemblies for data, power and signal transmission.
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