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Highlights from my travels – Jordan Still

In recent months, our apprentices, graduates, and those newly qualified from the schemes have had the opportunity to visit our facilities in other locations to learn more about the business. We've asked them to tell us about what they experienced while they were away. In the first of our 'Highlights from my travels' series, Jordan Still shares his thoughts.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Sparrows

I’m Jordan Still, 22, design draughtsperson based in Aberdeen. I’ve been in the job for five years, I joined as an apprentice and qualified last year.

What first interested you in your job and how did you get in to it?
I had an interest in graphic communication and only really excelled at the subject in school. At a volunteering job I did after school hours I had seen some drawings from a folio that belonged to a Sparrows employee, that motivated me to look in to it further as a career and I applied for the apprenticeship.

Tell us more about your secondment
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend 24 days in our office in Mumbai, India. I was there to assist with project engineering jobs but particularly with the ONGC contract which the team are working on to refurbish cranes from offshore. This is a huge project and probably the first complex project undertaken there.

What was a typical day like?
After getting ready for work, I’d be picked up by a pool car and driven to the office which was a bit different from how I commute at home. The length of the drive was quite similar but the traffic and sights were very different, it was incredibly busy.

Working on the ONGC project I would spend the morning checking the database for the relevant spares that would be required for the boom refurbishments. I’d create work packs for refurbishing cranes, these include all the forms required during the job such as safety documents and correct procedures.
The team in the office were very friendly and welcoming, at lunchtime each day they would either order in food for me or take me out. One colleague would also share a bit of his food to let me try different authentic meals.

In the afternoon I’d attend meetings with the project team where they’d discuss the progress and upcoming deadlines. I was also responsible for completing other procedures and forms, so I would create job cards for refurbishing components such as boom sections and winches, which includes details of the testing and painting, I’d also carry out the procedure and forms for hiring equipment to be mobilised offshore and learnt a lot about manifests and mobilising personnel offshore.

Evenings were spent in a similar way to home. I’d watch TV, read or study for college and there was a shopping mall nearby that I could go to as well.

What was different about Mumbai compared to Aberdeen?
I was very surprised at the poverty and conditions people were living in the surrounding areas, especially around main roads where families would live in the underpasses. I didn’t expect it and it made me appreciate how lucky we are in the UK.

There were also security checks on the cars which was unusual as it’s not something you typically find here.

What did you enjoy the most about the secondment?
The best thing was meeting everyone and building relationships with people that I have been talking to for years over skype.

Having the opportunity to go sightseeing and learn more about the history and religions of India was also really interesting.

What was most challenging?
The travelling and the heat were both quite challenging as I’m not used to either of them. It could be difficult in the office when the project engineers were busy but they were always supportive and happy to help.

What was the stand out moment from your trip?
On the last weekend I travelled to Elephanta Island with a colleague and hiked up the mountain, reaching the summit and seeing the amazing and stunning views of the ports that surrounded the island was incredible. I took a lot of photos that day!

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