Please introduce yourself, give your job title and explain in a few sentences what you do?
Hi, my name is Katherine Williams, I am a Health, Safety and Environmental Advisor on the River Humber Gas Pipeline Replacement Project. Largely I ensure that the Main Works Contractor is working in compliance with the client requirements and their own process and procedures. On a day to day basis I manage the SHE Reporting and MI production for the project, undertake inspections, task analysis and assist with incident investigation and close out.
What industry do you work for and how long have you been in it?
I have worked in the Oil & Gas Construction Industry for 11 years. My career started in the Commercial sector working as an Assistant Quantity Surveyor but I always had a keen interest in the Environmental sector. After 5 years’ I realised being a QS wasn’t my future, made a change and developed my environmental skills and knowledge to pursue this as a future career. I have now taken this a step further and completed a recognised H&S qualification to add this to my skill set.
What attracted you to your industry and what do you envisage it will look like in a decade?
I always had a keen interest in Civil Engineering and the Oil and Gas industry. I see Sustainability as being very much the key to the future, better available technology and in particular looking at renewables and aiming for Carbon Neutral. I also have a keen interest in Health and Wellbeing, particularly mental health, there was always a stigma around mental health issues particularly within the Construction Industry so it’s encouraging to see how the times have changed and how it’s now understood that it’s ‘ok, to not be ok’. There are so many different and easily accessible avenues of approach should you need to seek help and advice and this is really encouraging
What is the biggest challenge of your job?
The biggest challenge is to constantly drive better performance without compromising Safety, and looking for new and innovative ways of working to further reduce our impact on the future Environment
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy that every day is different and being part of such a fantastic project team. Every project I’ve worked on has been different and brought its own challenges – which as a project we work together to overcome.
What would you advise someone who wants to join the industry?
I would definitely encourage anyone to join the industry. Health, Safety and Environment are such vast sectors within the Construction industry and whether its specialising in one particular area or a combination, the subject matter is something of great interest to me and the success of these are key to a great project.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years’ time, I see myself working as a well-established Health, Safety and Environmental Advisor on another great construction project. Maybe a change of industry, depending on what the future holds.
What qualities make someone stand out in your industry?
Be bold, don’t be afraid, be confident and always be kind. As a young woman starting out in this industry was very daunting and initially very much male dominated. I have built my confidence over the years but it is inspiring to have a great number of successful females now in the industry, working over several disciplines too, be it engineers to managers it’s great to see.
Do you need a university degree to do well?
Personally, I would say a degree is nice to have but not essential. I completed my degree in Quantity Surveying which has no relevance to the job I do today but did teach me good discipline. I have since undertaken several distance learning and vocational qualifications to develop my Health, Safety and Environmental skills. However, I would say that my main learning is down to hands on experience working on real projects with established and experienced individuals.