After completing her two-year graduate role with James Fisher in September 2020, Carly discusses her achievements and experiences, and what she's been involved in since graduating. 

What did your graduate role entail?

I joined the graduate programme in September 2018 and completed it in September 2020. I was based at James Fisher Asset Information Services’ (JF AIS) Aberdeen office for most of that time, and of course, at home for the remaining few months. The intention of the programme was to regularly move the graduates round to various businesses across the course of the two years in order to experience the different group companies and roles. However, I remained at AIS as my role allowed me to work with James Fisher Marine  Services, Fendercare Marine, James Fisher Prolec, James Fisher Mimic, James Fisher Strainstall, James Fisher Offshore, and JFD. My role has also been extremely flexible across that time, working  between project management, sales, commercials, facilitating design thinking workshops and much more.   

How did you discover the graduate role?

I came across James Fisher on a graduate programme website. I was in my last term of university looking for my next step and the role stood out to me above the others, as it was in the industry I was most interested in experiencing.

The application process was very thorough, with multiple stages to navigate through - phone interview, half-day assessment day with the recruitment company, prepare a video on the company, and the final stage was an internal full day assessment day with group tasks and an interview

What were your favourite aspects of the programme?

I loved the fact my graduate role was at AIS; the digital centre of James Fisher, as it meant that everything we were doing was new and interesting for the group. There's a lot of focus on digitalisation in all industries at the moment so it feels like a really exciting place to be.

During the course of the graduate programme and my time since then, I have run many design thinking workshops for internal companies and customers - having received design thinking training from International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and the Victoria and Albert Design Museum. This has been great for me as it's enabled me to discuss and understand various projects in detail, and build relationships with colleagues and customers from various parts of James Fisher.

I've been given some great opportunities to travel across many James Fisher sites. Most exciting of all was when I spent a month in Houston, America with my colleague, Catriona Johnston, at the start of 2020. The aim of the trip was to learn about the US market for AIS, deliver design thinking sessions, and to support Catriona with the ongoing business development (BD) work there.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during your role?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the biggest challenge was coming into a technology company with very little experience or understanding of software, its terminology or how it's developed. I would ask what words or phrases meant on a regular basis - and still do - but I've come to grips with a lot of it now.

Since the pandemic however, working remotely for such a sustained period of time and going 10 months without seeing colleagues has been really challenging in a number of ways, due to the changes in working environment. It can be hard to learn and develop your skills when you aren't working alongside people in an office environment.

Since graduating, what has been your main areas of focus?

I have continued my work at AIS since completing the programme in September 2020, which has been great for me as it keeps me in the industry I’m most interested in and would like to pursue my career in. At AIS, many of us have flexible roles and that's something I really enjoy, and I’m glad to have kept on even after graduating. I’m still running the design thinking workshops while also spending some time working with the BD team on the oil and gas and offshore wind products for our customers.

Would you recommend the graduate programme to others looking into a similar career path?

If you're happy to go with the flow, don’t want or need a programme that has a rigorous structure, and are a self-starter who can find opportunities for yourself, then it's a great, friendly and dynamic company to work for, where you'll learn and develop with great people around you.

Find out more about James Fisher's Graduate Leadership Development Programme 2020.