What's your job about?
Woodside led the development of the liquified natural gas (LNG) industry in Australia and is Australia's leading LNG operator. In 2020 we operated 6% of global LNG supply.
As a contracting and procurement graduate at Woodside, I participate in a diverse array of pre-award and post-award contract management. This includes liaising with internal and external stakeholders, issuing and evaluating tenders, managing contractor performance, and making sure that we get the best value and suitably qualified products for our business end-users. Sometimes we get to be involved in “top-secret” projects which allow us to get a glimpse into how the organisation makes key strategic decisions – these opportunities are quite exciting!
A typical workday involves coming into our beautiful “high-tech” office in the city, picking a desk to sit at for the day, getting the much-required coffee while enjoying the panoramic view of Perth from Level 25. Once the essentials are done, I begin by looking through my emails to see my schedule for the day and whether any urgent tasks need attention. Depending on the project or tender I’m working on at the moment, the day usually consists of meeting internal stakeholders, drafting documents, approving high-value purchase orders (these can go from USD$50k into the millions), liaising with our contractor personnel and my favourite thing to do – negotiations!
As graduates, we are trusted by the company to work autonomously. However, we are always fully supported by our teammates, team leads and mentors. There is always someone that you can reach out to for support.
What's your background?
I grew up in Singapore and moved to Perth in 2005. I’ve been living here ever since. I was lucky to grow up in a household with very supportive parents that allowed me to choose my career pathway and supported me throughout my education.
I managed to power through two degrees in two different universities, do a different internship every summer holiday and discovered that with my law degree, there were so many different job pathways I could take (that weren’t becoming a private practice lawyer). I knew that I wouldn’t be limited to just law but could also challenge myself to learn something new about other industries.
The most interesting opportunity that I was given in university was to be a student volunteer at a community legal centre (SCALES) in Rockingham. It was an eye-opening experience, working with families and individuals that come from culturally, linguistically, and socially diverse backgrounds. I learnt life skills that you wouldn’t necessarily learn in university, felt a sense of fulfilment from helping these individuals and I think I became a more compassionate person from this experience as well.
Through my internships, I knew that I enjoyed working on contracts and engaging in negotiations – so I decided to apply to the Woodside 2020 Graduate Program – Contracting and Procurement Role. Woodside was the very first graduate program I applied to (believe it or not)!
Could someone with a different background do your job?
In contracts and procurement, we have individuals that come from all sorts of diverse educational backgrounds. We have people that studied logistics, business, law, management, engineering and many more! If you have a curious nature and willingness to learn, it is very possible to do this job well. At Woodside we use the 80/20/10 rule – 80 per cent of the learning is done hands-on/on the job, 20 per cent from interactions with others and 10 per cent from formal education.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The coolest thing about my job is being involved in high-stakes contract negotiations. I don’t think many people say this, but I thoroughly enjoy negotiating contractual terms and conditions and pricing with contractors – trying to get the best outcome for our business. I also enjoy engaging with stakeholders within the business – you can learn so much because everyone has different specialities. What’s interesting is that you can always book a coffee or meeting with anyone (even senior managers and vice presidents) and everyone is so helpful and willing to share information within the organisation.
What are the limitations of your job?
Contracting & Procurement is such a broad function within the business with so many sub-categories like Operations, Corporate, Drilling and Completions, Technology, Digital, Procurement, Projects, etc. As a graduate, we rotate positions every year for three years. Although the skill pool allows you to express interest in which team you want to move to, a limitation is that the business ultimately decides where your skills are required most and the roles which will allow you to develop best. You may be rotated into a position you have little interest in – but on the bright side, you will learn something new in every position!
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...