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Asking key questions and keeping the business going

When we spoke to Hayfaa Assaad she was waiting for her mandatory time in quarantine to conclude, having just made the move to England from the United Arab Emirates. Following four years working for Petrofac in the UAE, the Proposals Engineer started her new role with our Woking team in July 2020, but with the global pandemic affecting our plans at every corner, it took a few months for her to physically be in the same country as her office colleagues.

Together, they provide an insight into a project’s potential before it takes shape. Before it even becomes a talking point, they analyse and examine every available aspect to provide a holistic picture. When our decision-makers determine whether they want to pursue a proposal, they rely on the work of tireless researchers who investigate every possibility to provide the best prospect. They rely on Hayfaa.

Hayfaa, can you tell us about your role?

I am involved in the process that comes before a project award. Our Business Development teams seek out opportunities, they look for information on where the clients are investing, and these leads come to us. The management decides on whether we want to proceed with the prospect, and this is where my job starts.

We coordinate our work and liaise with the rest of the team to make sure all the boxes are ticked, in line with what the client wants to see, making sure we are competitive and hopefully we are awarded the piece of work we are tendering for. The document we put together – the prospect – is handed over to the project team in case of an award so the execution can begin.

Without revealing any secrets of the trade, can you tell us what goes into a prospect?

We are asking the key questions – can we win this, and of course if we do, can we execute this? Who are we competing against? What sort of help do we need from the rest of the business, or do we need to go to the market in some areas? We need to ask and answer all of these questions to help the management decide on whether we want to proceed with the tender or not.

"I can’t describe a ‘typical working day’, which is brilliant and is the best way to define how exciting the role is."
Hayfaa Assaad Proposals Engineer

Hayfaa works in a role that she says keeps her 'busy no matter what'

Do you find your job exciting?

It is a challenging, fast-paced role that keeps you busy no matter what. It is equally client facing and internal facing. I could be looking at the more traditional oil and gas prospect one day, and the next I am busy with a new energies prospect. I can’t describe a ‘typical working day’, which is brilliant and is the best way to define how exciting the role is.

Can you identify a highlight from your career at Petrofac so far?

When I joined the Petrofac Graduate Programme, I was told about the importance of mobility. Taking a role in a different country, on a different continent, you would expect this to be a very difficult process, but even with Covid-19, it was a smooth transition. It goes to show how flexible the Company is, and the ability to align your role and capabilities to your life. One of my highlights.

In what way do you think you add value to the business?

I like to think my role keeps the department going and my colleagues and I keep the Company active. We try to get as many projects as we can and if you don’t have any new projects, what would all the employees, with all their brilliant experience and technical capabilities do?

What career advice would you give to newcomers in our Company, and the wider industry?

Have confidence in yourself. Starting as a fresh graduate and interacting with people with 10-15 years of experience is not easy. You need to be able to show that you are confident and that you can support that confidence by ‘doing your homework’, of course. The support I got at Petrofac enabled me to build my confidence.

Having confidence was key to Hayfaa's career progress

If we were organising a conference and we invited you to talk about anything you are passionate about related to the work you do or how you do it, what would the topic be?

Figuring out how to do things faster and more efficiently is something I am passionate about. I always try to find a smarter way to work. If I knew that doing something manually would take me five hours, but that it can be done in one hour, I would spend three hours learning how to do it quicker. Not only have I saved an hour, but I learned something new! With the internet and the knowledge exchange platforms, we have access to a wealth of information – use it, explore new ideas, and grow your expertise.

How are you spending your time outside of work Hayfaa?

Walking and spending quality time with the family. As we moved to England not that long ago, there is so much to explore, and I can’t wait to get started.