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Highlights from my travels – Angus Gordon

Angus Gordon spent time at our office in Abu Dhabi, here he tells us more about his 'Highlights from my travels':

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Sparrows

I’m Angus Gordon, I’m 23 and I work as a Design Draughtsperson in the Aberdeen office. I joined four and a half years ago as an apprentice and qualified in August 2018.

What first interested you in your job and how did you get in to it?
I liked the technical subjects at school and had seen on a website for oil and gas careers the various roles of design within the industry. I wanted to find a job in that area as I wanted to work rather than go to University. I went to college and completed a HNC in Mechanical Engineering Systems then applied for the Apprentice Design Draughtsperson role.

Tell us more about your secondment
I went to our office in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for 25 days where I was based in the engineering department. I was involved in the tender stage of a crane removal and overhaul project in the Middle East using the Sparrows ECR-20 rental crane. I produced several drawings for the rental crane positions on the platform and assisted the project engineers where necessary to prepare the relevant documents for submission. I submitted various job cards to the workshop for different crane components on the ECR-120 rental crane.

For further experience, I spent several days in the workshop working alongside the mechanics, assisting to reassemble and load test winches following the job cards I had submitted. Further workshop tasks included dismantling and reassembling sheaves. I was involved with HSEQ in the review of risk assessments and assisted in an incident review.

What was a typical day like?
A typical day would start by getting picked up by the company bus in downtown Abu Dhabi at 7am and travelling out to the office in Mussafah for an 8am start. I would tie in with the project engineers/engineering manager to find out what I was doing or continue with my tasks from the previous day. I was often paired with someone to show me the procedures the project engineers follow and how they do their job. Lunch would be ordering something in and the engineers would order in various authentic dishes for me to try. Work finished at 16:30, where the company bus would drop me back off in downtown Abu Dhabi. I would get some food either at the accommodation or in a nearby mall and then go out and see the city further.

I wanted to see as much of Abu Dhabi as I could in the time I had there, so I made plans to do something most nights. I visited the YAS Marina Formula 1 Circuit, Ferrari World, Sheikh Zayed Grande Mosque, Etihad Towers, Emirates Palace and the Louvre.

What was different about Abu Dhabi compared to Aberdeen?
The culture was completely different, I was most surprised by the calls to prayer. Although I was aware of it I hadn’t appreciated how regularly they are played and how loudly it can be heard right across the city.

What did you enjoy most about the secondment and what did you find valuable?
The whole trip was brilliant, experiencing new things and meeting new people whilst being able to live in another country and experience the culture. The exposure to different aspects of engineering work was also extremely worthwhile.

What was most challenging?
Definitely the climate. It was extremely hot while I was there with temperatures reaching in to the high 40s every day. The days I spent in the workshop and yard it was around 46 degrees which was an experience. During my time there, all work outside had to be stopped between 12:30 and 15:00 due to the extreme summer heat.

What was the stand out moment from your trip?
As Dubai is just over an hour away I spent my weekends visiting there and went to the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Marina, Dubai Mall, Burj Al Arab and the Palm Atlantis, as well as doing a desert safari. I was really fortunate to be able to do all that but going up the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, was definitely the stand out moment.

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