Finishing university can be both an exciting and a daunting prospect for many graduates and the pandemic hasn’t helped many to feel like the world is their oyster, however two of the project consultants within the OCA team, Arianna and Jared who both joined the business after graduating in Ocean Engineering from the University of Rhode Island, share their experience of getting their career off to a great start within a global consultancy firm for the Offshore Wind Industry.
What was your experience of looking for post graduate opportunities in the Offshore Wind industry?
Jared: My experience was challenging. In the search for opportunities, there were no shortage of positions available. However, this was the first challenge. Most of the positions that were open were for seasoned project managers with experience levels that could and still can only be found in Europe.
The other challenge was my lack of knowledge of the industry and its players. The name Orsted is pretty much synonymous with offshore wind. At the time of looking for opportunities, companies like Orsted and Vineyard Wind dominated the headlines and job boards. I had no idea the shear breadth of both large and small companies this industry and companies like Orsted rely on to fill every project niche.
Arianna: I studied Ocean Engineering at the University of Rhode Island with the intent of working in the offshore renewable energy industry. When I was in the final year of my undergrad, I was not quite sure where to look for jobs. I had previously completed an internship involving commercial solar power and had done research with a professor regarding tidal energy but wanted to go in the direction of offshore wind energy since it was growing in the US.
I felt quite defeated when searching for entry level offshore wind jobs because often the jobs only included senior level positions looking for at least 5 years of experience. I got lucky because Jared reached out to me about how OCA was looking for an intern, so I applied and ended up completing a three-month internship with the company while finishing my degree.
What was the initial appeal of OCA?
Arianna: The experience. I was new to the industry, and the professional world in general so getting the breadth of experience involving offshore wind that OCA offers as a consulting company was very appealing. Also, the flexibility and benefits weren’t too shabby. Getting four weeks of vacation is a very nice perk of working with the company.
Jared: The initial appeal of OCA was that it was a consultancy that is multifaceted. Having interned at an engineering consultancy before joining OCA, I knew I wanted to work for a company where I could use both my technical skills as an engineer and the soft skills that goes along with being a consultant.
OCA also offered the opportunity to learn from professionals who have spent most of their careers in offshore wind and are experts in their given field and this seemed like a great way to get exposed to all aspects of offshore wind.
What have you learnt from your time so far at OCA?
Jared: When I was hired, I was the third US employee for OCA. With being such a small company at the time, I got to experience the many different aspects of how to run a small consultancy business. The amount of industry knowledge I have learned so far is hard to describe – it’s a lot! There is such a huge opportunity to learn and grow professionally and it is one of OCA’s core values.
Arianna: Working for an international management consultancy in the offshore wind industry has many perks, in my first six months I’ve had the opportunity to travel over to the UK to meet the other half of the team and get my GWO Offshore Training Certificate as well as working on a variety of projects involving various packages of wind developments. The knowledge and experience that OCA offers is unbeatable. It has given me the opportunity to work full time on a project as a permitting and compliance manager, which I never would’ve believed I would be six months into my career!
What has been the most enjoyable aspect of working at OCA?
Arianna: The people that are a part of this company are extremely supportive. They are always open to questions and are constantly sharing their knowledge. Making it an enjoyable and informative environment to work in.
Jared: The people you meet and the projects you get to work on. The people you work with both in and out of OCA were the pioneers of offshore wind nearly 20 years ago. Learning from all their wealth of experience is priceless.
The type of projects is another aspect that sets OCA apart. I knew I did not want to have a job that did the same thing each day. With OCA, each project is a new challenge and a chance to learn something new. I have had the experience to work on a wide variety of projects from subsea cables to transportation and installation modeling of foundations.
What advice would you give some who is looking to get into offshore wind industry after their studies?
Arianna: Don’t get defeated when looking for a job. This is a rapidly growing industry and so many companies are looking to hire right now. Even though it might not be advertised, do your research, look for internships and ask around, your connections can lead you to incredible opportunities.
Jared: My advice to someone looking for post-graduate opportunities would be to do your research and network. Follow companies on Linked In and find out how the top people in the industry got their start after graduation. Also, learn what companies design the foundations, fabricate the cables, and work in project development. The industry is massive and growing every day. Figure out what you are interested in, and you will find there is a company for everything in offshore wind no matter how niche.
Offshore Construction Associates currently have opportunities for graduates and internships, so if you are interested, please get in touch. Contact Us – Offshore Construction Associates