Keen traveller Peter progresses through regional talent programme

Having initially been unsure of what career path he would follow on completion of an accountancy degree, Peter Ross' ambitious attitude and curious nature has seen him progress to the role of Project Manager at Bilfinger Salamis UK.

What does your role involve?

I'm a project manager at Bilfinger, so I'm responsible for the delivery of all offshore services to our client, a North Sea oil and gas operator.  The Bilfinger team delivers a variety of services including scaffolding, rope access, coating, vessel cleaning, pressurised habitats and insulation works offshore. My role involves managing estimates, cost reporting, identifying risk or growth, and managing these accordingly.

Within my direct reports I have appproximately 120 employees offshore, as well as a team of 5 onshore. On top of the above, I continually drive our behavioural safety charter, instilling these same attitudes across the contract.

What does your career journey look like?

I studied accounting and finance at university, which included spending a year on a student exchange in Toronto, Canada. After university I then took a year out working and travelling  Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. When I returned I applied for a few graduate accountancy positions. The time I spent away made me realise it really wasn't what I wanted to do and actually I had an interest in project management therefore looked what the best route into that would be.

I got my start at Bilfinger in a project coordinator role, which gave me great exposure to build my knowledge of our core services, procurement processes and the offshore environment. I found working in a service delivery and project management role really played to my strengths. I then got the opportunity to move into a planner role which gave me exposure to another aspect of project management. I was responsible for the creation and management of 30 and 90 day lookahead plans, managing labour and materials to match these, and always being aware of alternative work scenarios.

I've always been keen to further my knowledge on the job, so undertook many training courses to give me practical experience, including asbestos awareness, ICORR coating inspector and IOSH courses. In 2016, I moved into a project engineer role with my current client, and undertook my Association for Project Management (APM) qualification, achieving 82% in my final exam. 

In January 2020, I was promoted to project manager at the age of 30, something I'm really proud of. 

What sets Bilfinger apart?

The support you receive. It's easy to find ambitious and dedicated colleagues all round you who are willing to help and work together to achieve a common goal. I've felt supported at every level when I expressed an interest in furthering my career. We have a fantastic leadership team locally who are approachable and knowledgeable in their own areas – it allows everyone reporting to them to feel comfortable enough to ask questions whilst having the freedom to develop themselves.

I've had some great opportunities including taking part in careers events with local universities, and being involved in a forum to set the strategic direction of the company. There's a real feeling of us being 'one team'. 

I've also been lucky enough to take part in Bilfinger's Regional Talent programme which has allowed me to learn far more about the Bilfinger group as a whole. I've now got a great relationship with colleagues from five other entities, and have been working on a business case on innovation which I'll present in Norway later this year.


Five Questions:

  • Is there still something you want to achieve in your life? I want to summit Mount Everest.
  • What advice would you give to your 5-year old self?  Don’t grow up too quickly, save your pennies and see as many amazing places in this world as you can.
  • What's your greatest achievement? Winning the Scottish Tennis Open Doubles U16.
  • What's your favourite pastime?  I'm really into travel, and try and get away to explore new countries as often as possible. I've been lucky enough to travel the world taking in some amazing events such as Burning Man in Nevada, and even spent a semester in Canada while I was at university. Most weekends you'll find me hiking around Scotland, bagging munros.
  • Tell us something we may not know about you - I have played tennis with Andy Murray.