Case Study: Harry McAlister – project procurement officer

Harry McAlister


What is your role at Triton Knoll?

I am a Procurement Officer – procurement involves “shopping” for all the goods and services that are needed to make an offshore wind farm. I have to find the best deals and make sure the terms and conditions for getting them are acceptable.


What is your typical working day like as a Project Procurement Officer?

My typical day consists of meeting with potential suppliers to review their tender bids, negotiating Terms & Conditions of various contracts once a preferred supplier has been chosen in the project as well as being the middle man between the wide variety of packages on our project.


What studies have been most important in getting you into this post?

My Law and Geography A-levels have helped most in the next steps of my career. Geography made me aware of the need for renewable energy and caught my interest in that industry. Law was a helpful starting point to deal with complex contracts.

How did you get here? Describe your career pathway in a nutshell:

I left school with A-levels when I was 18. At the time I was not keen on going to University so I ended up taking three different part time jobs in my home town for a year and a half.

I started my career in renewable energy at the age of 19 with a procurement internship at RWE Innogy within onshore wind. After a year and a half of gaining first experience in the corporate world I looked out for a permanent role. I got an opportunity at a competitor renewable energy development company to work as a Buyer for the domain of new technologies, which was mainly solar power and battery storage. Alongside this I started my Chartered Institute in Procurement and Supply qualification as my first “real” qualification since A-Levels. After six months I was promoted to an Assistant Contract Manager position focusing on negotiating contracts for projects within the new technologies domain.

I had always wanted to work specifically on offshore wind projects and was approached by my previous company Innogy who were hiring people in London. So, after just under four years at Orsted I moved back and started my current role as a Project Procurement Officer in January 2019.  I am now about to finish my Chartered Institute in Procurement and Supply qualification.


Why did you choose to work in renewables?

It is great to be part of such an evolving business with so much investment taking place, especially in the UK and Northern Europe. As well as this I am happy to see the current global growth opportunities of offshore wind, which opens doors to gain future work experience abroad.


What is your proudest achievement in your current job?

I am currently running tenders for the Offshore Construction Services packages within the Triton Knoll project. This is a step up from assisting as a Procurement Officer and is both complex and challenging with a steep learning curve.


What would be your most important careers advice?

Focus on an industry that you have a genuine interest in and you are inspired by. Work hard and show willing to learn. Do not hesitate to throw yourself in the deep end as this is the only way to gain new experience.