Norwegian Oil and Gas Partners (INTSOK) and the UK Government Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have joined forces to champion a business mentoring scheme designed to improve business opportunities between Norway and the UK.
The programme, named the UK-Norway Cross Border Mentoring Initiative, pairs up individuals from small supply companies in both countries, with representatives from operators or tier one contractors in the other country.
To date, the initiative has seen some 32 businesses work together for a 12 month period. In addition to the one to one contact, the programme provides networking opportunities between all participants, creating an environment for open and frank conversation over a range of issues faced by different sized organisations on both sides of the North Sea.
Following the completion of two successful sessions, a third programme will be launched shortly. Bill Cattanach, PILOT Secretariat for DECC said: ‘While it may be perceived that the greatest benefits would be derived by the SME participants, mentor companies have also gained from their involvement with a general view that they had developed a better understanding of the similarities and differences between the Norwegian and UK business cultures. This was not just with their own mentee partner but with other participants in the programme.
‘From a mentee perspective they had been provided with a sounding board across industry issues and a more advanced view on the supply chain of larger companies. Many businesses are now improving their own strategies as a direct outcome of the initiative.’
A competitive edge
Huw Radley, Managing Director of Solent Composite Systems (SCS) and a participant in the scheme, said: ‘The programme provided us with a very efficient insight into the supply chain dynamics of the North Sea oil and gas sector. Even though we have been trading in Norway for many years we learned a great deal, as well as making many important new contacts. Participating in the scheme also gave us a competitive edge at the Norwegian Offshore Northern Seas (ONS) Conference in 2008. Within one hour of the show opening we met five colleagues from the programme.
‘I was particularly impressed how much time and effort senior management from the operators and engineering procurement construction companies and contractors were willing to give to the SME group. There is no doubt that the programme will benefit our company for many years to come and I certainly would recommend the initiative to any SME operating in the North Sea.’
The UK-Norway Cross Border Mentoring Initiative is facilitated and managed by The Urquhart Partnership.