From the Norfolk Broads to the North Sea

Ryan Clegg joined Bilfinger in 2013 and works as Scaffold Technical Authority. From childhood ambitions of building army bridges, to daily flights to North Sea assets, he tells us how he progressed his role in scaffolding.


What does your job involve?

As Technical Authority, I'm responsible for communicating any changes in scaffolding legislation and regulations to the business, and also for providing technical guidance on scaffolding and access activities.

Scaffolding is one of the main access methods for day-to-day activities on an offshore asset, providing access for all personnel to production critical equipment, as well as for a full range of fabric maintenance and lifting and rigging services. These are often complex, designed scaffolds not commonly erected onshore.

As such, it’s vital that it is designed and constructed to meet very high safety standards and regulations.

Offshore scaffolders work in a harsh environment where the weather can change quickly, and they are often required to work in confined and restricted spaces. The job is demanding and requires a lot of skill and experience. It’s my job to ensure that all of our scaffold services are delivered safely, and in compliance with regulatory requirements.

As part of this, I'm involved in carrying out scaffolding surveys and estimations, scaffolding audits onshore and offshore, and work site visits focusing on scaffold operations. A key element of my role is making sure that all onshore and offshore sites are carrying out scaffolding operations compliant with curren  company procedures, industry regulations and legislation.

What does your career path look like?

When I left school I wanted to join the Army as a Royal engineer, constructing bridges for front line operations, but during the Army recruitment process, I worked at a local leisure resort looking after the maintenance of the building and gardens. As part of this I was asked to get involved with their scaffolders, tidying the yard and assisting them on site.

I really enjoyed it, so decided to pursue scaffolding as a career instead.  I went on to work for some of the largest companies in Norfolk in construction, renewables and the industrial sector.

I’ve always been driven so knew I’d like to progress my career and maybe become scaffolding manager, or a more technical role, but I wasn’t sure how to. Family members worked in the offshore oil and gas industry, and encouraged me to make the move offshore. I joined Bilfinger in 2013, and quickly expressed that I was keen to progress into a technical role. Management saw the value my experience would bring to the role of Technical Authority, and they have encouraged me every step of the way.

What's your career highlight?

Despite its size, Bilfinger feels like a family - everyone works as a team and we get great results because of this.

I've had lots of opportunities in my role, but I particularly enjoyed looking after scaffolding operations on 35 normally unmanned installations (NUI). Each day I would travel by helicopter to these assets, and return home that evening – not your standard offshore rota! It certainly made for an interesting commute.

I've been lucky enough to travel to Holland to see how scaffolding operations are completed by other Bilfinger companies. I also completed an onshore secondment for the introduction of System Scaffold on one of our client contracts, so I've experienced both onshore and offshore life at Bilfinger.

Five Questions:

  • What did you want to be when you were a child? A fireman 
  • What’s your favourite pastime? When I get home, I like to spend my spare time with my wife and two children, and we often take a little trip along the river on our family boat on the Norfolk Broads. It's a lot calmer than being out in the North Sea!
  • If you were to give your 5-year old self one piece of advice, what would it be? You can be anything you want to be, you might just have to work a little harder sometimes to achieve it.
  • Is there something that you still want to achieve in your life? Sail the channel.
  • If you were managing director for the day, what would you change? Swap everyone’s job roles to give everyone an understanding of what everyone does in a working day.