Consultant stories: Siw Hovland Ophaug
Building opportunities as a consultant
Siw Hovland Ophaug is in her second period as a consultant in Omega 365. Consultant life has given her the opportunity to work with project management.
Siw started in August 2021 as a Senior Cost Engineer in the Valhall projects Sulphate Removal Unit (SRU) and New Central Platform (NCP) in Aker BP. In November 2022, she switched jobs to work with modification projects on the Alvheim field. It was not a given that her career path would lead her to Omega 365 or this region; it was something that happened quite by chance.
First assignment at Kollsnes
After meeting her partner from Sotra, Norway, in 2007, Siw moved from Stavanger and was looking to get a job in the Sotra area. Based on advice from a friend, she looked into opportunities in Omega 365.
“I thought it would be smart to find a consultant assignment in order to secure a short-term job."
In the beginning, there was nothing relevant on offer through Omega 365. However, after working as a consultant in another company for a period, she was contacted by Kari B. Bauer Sandal, Department Manager in Omega 365 Consulting. Sandal had an exciting four-year assignment for Siw in project control on the KOP project for the development of the gas plant at Kollsnes.
“Having the opportunity to participate in large development projects is very rewarding,” Siw suggests.
“Especially in the type of projects where many consultants are hired. Through these projects, you get access to exciting assignments and gain a lot of new expertise.”
Siw explains that one of the advantages Omega 365 offers consultants is the large number of available positions that are posted on Omega 365’s job portal, Jobs.
“Being a consultant is also a great path into a new company; you get to know the company and the job, and you can figure out if you really like the position. As a permanent employee, you have less flexibility.”
“It is also a way into a company where there may be opportunities for permanent employment.”
Kari emphasizes that Siw has many important assets as a consultant:
“Siw is extremely talented within her field of expertise. As a consultant, she is flexible and communicates well with colleagues and clients when she is on assignment. She is open and easy to come in contact with. We have received good feedback from clients that Siw has been on assignment with,” she says.
As a department manager, Kari is responsible for finding new and exciting assignments for Omega 365’s consultants. After the KOP project, Siw returned to the CCB base at Ågotnes, and in 2012 she was permanently employed.
“I contacted Kari to find new assignments as a consultant after the project period at Kollsnes ended, but there were only assignments in Bergen at that time, and I wanted to avoid commuting.”
Great conditions as a consultantSiw has gained experience as both a permanent employee and a consultant and understands that some may see the employment situation of consultants as less secure than that of permanent employees. Nevertheless, there are many positive aspects that make her happy in her job.
“As a consultant in Omega 365, my experience is that the conditions are great, and it is possible to set something aside if it takes some time to get a new assignment, or if you want some free time between assignments. You rarely have that opportunity if you are a permanent employee.”
Job search in the oil crisis
In 2015, Siw and her husband moved to Stavanger. She quit her job but found that searching for a job in Stavanger was not easy.
“It was in the middle of the oil crisis; I was still confident I would get a job in Stavanger, but in 2015 no one did. We had bought an old house, and it was convenient to have a few months off to renovate. It was very challenging when I then tried to find a new job. People I knew from before who also worked in the industry had held onto their jobs as best they could.”
In 2016, she got a job in a start-up company working with infrastructure, which had a contract for electrical installations in the Ryfylke tunnel in the Stavanger area.
“This was a completely new industry for me, which was very exciting to be a part of. I was Finance Manager and responsible for accounting, payroll, project management, auditing, and annual settlements.”
As the oil and gas industry experienced a new upswing, Siw started thinking about what she wanted to do moving forward.
“I had gone a few rounds thinking about what kind of work I really wanted to do. Although everything I had experienced so far had taught me a lot, I felt ready to focus on project management,” Siw smiles.
When she contacted Kari in Omega 365 Consulting, it resulted in her securing the assignment she has today, which she is very happy with.
“I feel there is a lot being done to make you feel connected in Omega 365, even if you don't work closely with all your colleagues. For example, we have booked the house on Gran Canaria and participated in great teambuilding events that would be difficult to organize on your own, like the trip to St. Petersburg,” says Siw, with reference to Omega 365’s employee welfare program, Advantage, which includes a selection of holiday houses and the opportunity to partake in teambuilding trips together with colleagues.
“My husband told me that if I were to become a consultant again, it would have to be in Omega 365,” she smiles.