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Case Studies

Former oil and gas worker installs new future

A former oil and gas worker has a message of hope for those facing the same situation he did almost two years ago – there’s life after working in the industry.

Peter Ellington, who now runs his own kitchen business, Ellington Kitchens, says he faced an “adapt or die” scenario two years ago when work began drying up for his oil and gas consultancy.

Finding himself out of work, the design engineer to trade turned to his family for support, and went to Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire for advice, before using the skills he’d built up over 19 years to start afresh in a new sector.

Now, after just 11 months in the kitchen industry developing his business from home, the 41-year-old has launched his own website, with support from the DigitalBoost programme offered through Business Gateway, and opened a showroom in Aboyne’s Station Square on Saturday, April 22nd. The showroom, was designed and fitted out with the help of new business partner and established local joiner, Craig Mennie.

Peter said: “Being out of work was extremely hard, but I now see it as a blessing as I would never have had the courage to set up a new business otherwise. At the time I didn’t know what direction to go in, but I weighed up my experience and visited a trade show in Birmingham in March 2016 to see what options there were in the kitchen industry. Since then, I’ve used my skills to secure work, form strong relationships with customers and suppliers as well as plan and execute jobs in the same stringent manner I did while working in oil and gas.

“But, before I got started I went back to Business Gateway, who I’d spoken to a year earlier when launching my consultancy. My adviser gave me a business plan framework and helped me pull together financial forecasts that helped me secure the lease of my unit and finance to buy assets for the showroom. With her input, I filled out a Digital Health Check and was referred to the DigitalBoost programme, which provided me with over 21 hours of 1:1 support from a specialist adviser. He was fantastic and armed me with the tools I needed to build and maintain my website. His help boosted my digital presence which was vital to get my business started. With the opening of my showroom, I’m now exploring what other support may be available to me through Business Gateway which will help me rebrand the website and my social media platforms.”

Roz Taylor, Business Gateway, said: “Deciding what career to follow after many years in the oil and gas industry can feel daunting for many, however, Peter’s determination to create a new future for himself and his family spurred him to think outside the box. He adapted his skills and has used his experience, as well as our advice, to form a solid base on which to grow his new enterprise. Thanks to advice from DigitalBoost he has also increased his skillset, and now knows how to build and update his website to showcase the projects he works on.”

My adviser gave me a business plan framework and helped me pull together financial forecasts that helped me secure the lease of my unit and finance to buy assets for the showroom.

Although Peter’s father has worked in kitchen industry all his life, he’d never thought about following in his footsteps until faced with unemployment. When he first floated the idea of Ellington Kitchens, his dad, who is semi-retired, gave him the opportunity to manage a number of his company’s jobs.

Peter said: “When I went to my dad with my business idea he hadn’t seen it coming! By giving me the chance to take the lead on a few of his jobs it not only allowed me to test the water, it highlighted new ways of working to my dad. We really have learnt so much from each other. Being out of work means you face both personal and financial struggles. Often you don’t know where to turn to next and that’s a horrible feeling. Starting my own business was a piecemeal process and has given me a sense of pride as I build something from nothing. That is hugely rewarding. If you find yourself out of work and have a business idea get started on it now, and take all the advice you can. I can assure you, there is life after oil and gas.”

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