In our last interview on the topic of Diversity, we saw OSRL Australia tapping on the vast experiences of colleagues from different bases to add an interesting mix of expertise to its remote training.
Today, we look at diversity through the growth journey of an OSRL staff, Ho Yei Ling.
You can watch the interview below or read the transcript below.
INTERVIEW WITH HO YEI LING
Rachel: I'm very interested in how your journey in OSRL started? The experiences, the exercises, the spills, exposures. Could you walk us through?
Yei Ling: After I graduated from my bachelor’s degree, I carried on studying part time and working full time for OSRL.
Rachel: Were you recruited as a responder?
Yei Ling: No, I came in as an Operations coordinator because I was studying for my Master’s degree and did not want it to be too taxing on myself.
Rachel: How long were you an Ops coordinator?
Yei Ling: A year. Then the Operations Manager Mr. Ho approached me to consider going into a response role. After some consideration, I converted to a Response Specialist. I was also about to complete my Master’s degree and had more time and flexibility.
Rachel: From then on, after being a response specialist, you trained up to be a Duty Manager (DM) and now an Incident Manager (IM)?
Yei Ling: Interestingly, ten years ago, Offline training was not done in UK, so actually I had my Offline training in Singapore. A week into the training in 2010, we had the Bunga Kelana incident, followed by the Macondo incident … After a week of training on how to deploy an offshore boom, I went out to deploy a boom with my seniors!
Rachel: What an experience.
Yei Ling: It is about learning from the seniors along the way.
Rachel: How many spills have you been to in the last 12 years?
Yei Ling: (Laughter…lost count) In 2010 itself when I just started off, I went to three spills in a year back-to-back. It started with the Bunga Kelana incident which was an offshore incident, then went on to Kerteh where we did aerial dispersant application. I flew in the aerial dispersant (ADDS Pack) aircraft chartered from Safair. On coming back, I was sent off to respond to the Macondo incident.
Rachel: So you have responded to the Macondo incident as well?
Yei Ling: Yea…imagine a 24-year-old young chap going out to (so many) spills! It was a great experience for me. Going to different places. When Monica (HR) interviewed me, she was sharing about joining OSRL and you will get to see the world and I actually did see the world in that short span of a year. Haha.
Rachel: That's really a good experience from the start Yei Ling.
Yei Ling: Yes. It has been. I also went to Brunei three years ago to help a client in their Incident Management Team (IMT) as a Technical Advisor and as an In-Field Lead. Over the years, I attended a range of different spills as a responder, experiencing all the different response strategies and techniques. After the Macondo incident, the ICS structure kicked in. We were trained in taking on the various ICS roles like logistics, planning functions and all. We saw that the industry also started running a lot of these (ICS) exercises to equip their personnel and I got most of the experience through clients’ exercises e.g. filling in roles, integrating into the clients’ incident management team during the exercises. Roles in the planning functions or in the logistics functions. Yeah, basically acting as a Technical Advisor representing OSRL. At the same time helping the client and getting a better understanding of how their Incident Command Structure (ICS) works.
Rachel: Yei Ling, do you think in these 12 years OSRL has given you the opportunity to grow?
Yei Ling: Other than just growing in Response as in moving through the response structure of a Specialist, Senior Specialist, DM (Duty Manager) and now IM (Incident Manager), I took on various roles too, such as delivering equipment training which later evolved to delivering classroom training together with the trainers. I also later branched into consultancy projects which is also what I'm doing in my role now, delivering Logistics Execution Plan. Having the basic understanding of how a consultancy project is being managed helps me in my current role where I'm delivering a logistics execution plan for a client. Not forgetting equipment hire. When we think of equipment hire, there is a lot of client liaison and movement of equipment. These were things that I was already doing back in my response days. Not just the movement of the equipment, but also managing it as a project, preparing the equipment, delivering it to the client and at the end of the project, looking into the rehabilitation of the equipment.
Rachel: You deliver training as well as consultancy work and now eventually focusing on this specific (Logistics). I think you can do these because you got the diverse experience from Response.
Yei Ling: There were not so many people in Response then. So yeah, I guess the opportunity came over for me to deliver quite a fair bit of things and to learn and to pursue my interests in Logistics. That's why I moved on to the Global Logistics Team (GLT) to focus on logistics. Working with colleagues from other regions, improves or provides a better insight to diversity too.
Rachel: Thank you very much for sharing your experiences and the journey with OSRL with us.
Ho Yei Ling on an aerial dispersant application mission in Kerteh.
Ho Yei Ling participating at the International Oil Spill Conference.