"I have learnt so much and have well and truly been thrown in at the deep end (in a good way!) to accelerate my development...."

Rorie Tracey - Leadership Graduate


Tell us about yourself Rorie

Having completed my time at the University of Strathclyde, I was awarded a distinction in my Masters Mechanical Engineering with Financial Management. My degree allowed me to blend my love for engineering and all things physics with my understanding of economics and finance.

I joined James Fisher and Sons in September 2018, completing the three week induction programme before beginning my first placement with JFD Ltd, as part of their production control team. I have recently started my second placement within JFD's bids team.


What attracted you to James Fisher and Sons?

I heard about the Graduate Leadership Programme through the STEM career site, Gradcracker. Despite having completed an engineering degree, the programme immediately caught my eye. It would allow me to utilise knowledge gained from my time at university by completing a number of industry placements to get practical, first-hand experience of core business skills such as project management, people management and financial planning.

Following the rigorous application process, I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the scheme along with a number of other high calibre candidates. Considering the group's expansive growth over recent years and the huge array of industries it operates in, it was an extremely easy decision to join the group.

Completion of this programme will allow me to refine my own business and leadership skills whilst gaining vital industry experience.

What's a typical day like for you?

No two days are the same! My first placement was spent as part of JFD's production control team. I was tasked with indentifying areas of waste within the current E2E production process. This initially involved spending some time within the many workshop departments to fully understand the current process and where areas of waste existed, before suggesting feasible solutions to improve process efficiency. 

My second placement is as part of JFD's bids team and involves creating and submitting JFD's response to any given tender we wish to bid for. So, compiling all required technical and commercial documentation and using information gained from many of our industry experts. The completed response packages are then sent out to the client in the hope of meeting all pre-defined requirements and ultimately winning the contract. This is an extremely fast-paced department which demands strong time-management and organisational skills to meet the many submission deadlines in place, excellent communication skills and an eye for detail. Despite only having been part of the bids team for two months, I have learnt so much and have well and truly been thrown in at the deep end (in a good way!) to accelerate my development and understanding of the department, meaning that I have been entrusted with the completion of several smaller bid opportunities.

How would you describe the training and mentoring you have received so far?

The training provided as part of the programme has been excellent. My first three weeks were spent visiting many of the group's subsidiary companies, from Fendercare Marine to R2S, to better understand them and the capabilities of the group as a whole. This was thoroughly enjoyable as it enabled me to meet many key group personnel as well as fellow graduates.

Throughout my time working with JFD, I have also attended: the group's leadership training course to further develop essential leadership skills, the 'Tree of Knowledge' workshop to understand the benefits gained from a positive mindset, and have been involved in multiple Scottish Manufacturing Best Practice visits.

As part of the scheme, I have also been assigned my own mentor, an external point of contact with whom to raise any issues or concerns I may have. My mentor has been absolutely superb, ready to offer advice whenever needed. The mentoring programme in place is an excellent initiative that only further outlines the thought and consideration which has been put into the leadership scheme. It ensures each candidate thrives and lives up to their potential.


What has been the most exciting project you have worked on so far?

The most exciting, yet challenging, project I have been involved in was the implementation of an electronic work-order traveller solution, to automate the movement of all shop-floor documentation around JFD's workshop departments, whilst omitting printing to save JFD both time and money! I was given sole ownership of this project which demanded strong project management skills and an ability to deal with pressure to ensure a feasible e-traveller solution was achieved on time and within budget. This project involved analysis of JFD's current production process, development and evaluation of three concept solutions and selection and presentation of the optimal solution to JFD's Operations Director and Head of Production Control for approval.

Interested in seeing what the leadership programme could offer you? Read more about the 2020 Graduate Leadership Programme.