Interview with Calum Douglas, ABP Group Risk Practitioner, Southampton in the lead up to International Men’s Day 2022.
As part of our campaign to promote International Men’s Day this year, ABP is aiming to raise awareness around the importance of looking after the mental health and wellbeing of men and boys. Feeling a strong sense of purpose when pursuing a career is one way to improve wellbeing. What would you say is the most motivating part of your role at ABP?
My role is diverse, and I am encouraged to be involved with different departments within the business. Working closely with experts in their fields is a great way to learn new knowledge and skills. Visiting new ports is a bonus for me, it is beneficial to see different locations and meet the people involved in the projects I am working on. I am well guided and feel appreciated by my line manager, giving additional motivation on the days when it is required.
Can you tell us more about your career journey with ABP? When did you join and what are the steps you have taken so far to progress?
After graduating with a Port Management Degree, I gained industry experience in shipping as a shipping agent with a view of working for ABP in the future.
In 2017, I moved from Southampton to Plymouth for a Customer Service Supervisor role at ABP, which is primarily a role supporting Brittany Ferries operations.
Shortly after I was promoted to Assistant Operations Manager for Teignmouth and Plymouth. In this role, I was responsible for managing the planning and safe operation of the port. Teignmouth imports and exports a variety of bulk cargo. I learned lots and enjoyed a port with the best views.
In 2021, I moved back to my old university stomping ground, Southampton for a role as Cruise Manager. The cruise team was newly formed in order to better service the growing cruise industry in Southampton. Within this role I worked with cruise lines and stakeholders to ensure the safe restart of cruise during the Covid-19 pandemic whilst also ensuring the infrastructure was adapted and to support operations.
When I began looking to come out of this operational role, I realised I could use the skills and knowledge gained in my current role as Group Risk Practitioner. This has been a great step and enables me to learn a lot about the wider business. I work with a variety of departments to asses risks and create business continuity plans across the business.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I always say good morning to my colleagues whilst on the way to the kitchen for a coffee. Then I check the diary to create a plan for the day accommodating meetings and any prep work needed. My role is mainly office-based and a lot of the people I talk to are located all over the country, therefore I spend a few hours a day on teams meetings. Between these calls, I carry out tasks and work on projects. Once a month I go to the London office which is beneficial to have some face-to-face time with colleagues I regularly work with.
Are there things you do daily to ensure good mental health and wellbeing and if yes, what are they?
Being active is important for me to keep a clear mind and release any stress. I swim 3 times a week before work and the other days I go to the gym or get out on my bike. I try and get away in my camper, especially if it’s windy for a windsurf. If there’s no wind I’m usually doing DIY, learning new skills keeps me busy, especially on a dark winter’s evening. Planning to see friends and family is also essential.
If you could give your younger self one piece of adult advice to help improve your health and wellbeing, what would it be?
Most of our adult life is spent at work, so it is important to do a job you enjoy doing. It is also important to get a good work-life balance and have a comfortable home to go to where you feel settled. Spend your additional expenditure on experiences rather than on material goods. If you can afford both that’s always a bonus!
More information about careers at ABP can be found here.