Jill Florence

Jill started her career with us in the end of 2020 as a Commercial Officer located out of our Aberdeen officer. In the interview she share more about her road to Solstad and her experience working in male orientated industries.

Title: Commercial Officer
Joined Solstad: 2021
Country: Scotland

What is your background (education and experience from other companies)?

Since studying Business Administration at University, I have had a varied career to date in numerous sectors including: aviation; finance; hospitality; marine and the public sector. A career in Commercial/Business Development has always been something I looked to pursue. My first role in this field was as a Commercial Administrator with Bristow Helicopters, where I predominately worked with clients and managed the tender process. Following this, I moved into my first role in the Marine sector as Contract Advisor for ASCO.  During my time at ASCO, I was approached by Survitec (who deal with aviation and marine safety systems) about moving into a new role of Customer Service Delivery Manager. From there, I then moved back to the Marine sector as a Tendering Contract Engineer for Rever Offshore, where tendering and client interaction were my main focus.

When and how did your story with Solstad start?  

Having applied for a number of roles during 2020, I was made aware of the opportunity to work for Solstad after being approached by a recruitment agency regarding the Commercial Officer role, which was very interesting and seemed to fit my skill set well. I started working for Solstad in November 2020 and worked for 6 weeks in the Aberdeen office before further COVID restrictions resulted in the office closing again and a return to working from home till July 2021. Returning back to the office has been great and putting more and more faces to names!

Can you explain what you currently do in your role as Commercial Officer in Aberdeen?

As Commercial Officer, I assist with tendering opportunities for Solstad PSVs vessels in the UK, Mediterranean, Americas and Africa, which involves the preparation of the tendering documents and negotitations with clients.  Within our team, we also manage the chartering of the UK spot PSV vessels, which is one of my favourite parts of the role as the spot market dynamic is interesting, can be fast moving, you get to communicate with several parties during the contracting process, and it feels great fixing vessels on a regular basis!

How do you perceive career opportunities in the Company?

The role in itself is wide-ranging and every day is different due to the number of regions covered by the UK office, therefore, opportunity exists to work on UK and International vessel tenders. The client base for the UK Operations has been increasing of late and there are opportunities to increase this further as the market recovers. My colleagues have a lot of experience working for Solstad, which shows that staff turnover is low and the Solstad is a great place to work

What do you want to highlight from your current position?

Despite working from home, the Solstad team has  very much made me feel part of the team as communication at all levels of the company is very good. I have been able to form great relationships with people both internally and externally in a relatively short period of time.

In Solstad we now have 50 nationalities and we encourage diversity. Can you relate to a situation where diversity has improved the results in your daily work?

Due to the nature of my role, diversity awareness is so important as essentially you are building relationships with clients, brokers and colleagues.  Working with different nationalities assists with building these relationships as you are much more aware of different cultures

Shipping is traditionally a male industry but Solstad believe in equal opportunities. Would you recommend women to start a career in Solstad?

I have predominantly worked in male orientated industries, such as the Police and Aviation. This has given me the confidence to express my thoughts and opinions in the workplace.  I would encourage anyone to start a career with Solstad and not allow gender to stand in their way.

Would you recommend young people to start a career in Solstad?

Solstad is one of the largest Offshore shipowners globally, with a large and modern fleet. In addition, the company runs cadet schemes where young people are employed to conduct apprenticeships. Given these points, Solstad would a great place for a young person to start their career.