An Interview with Dean Ashton… Tennis Coaching to Oil & Gas

Dean recently shared his experience of some of the training courses he undertook here at Harness to enter the oil and gas industry after spending more than 25 years as a professional tennis coach. Dean took part in a number of Harness courses back in 2016 to support his career change.

1. Tell me a little about yourself and your career path before you undertook training with Harness?

Dean Ashton
Dean Ashton.

This is a long answer, but I will give you the short answer. I have been a professional tennis coach for 25 years when I decided I wanted a career change. I considered many things, however Oil & Gas kept ticking all the boxes for me. It was very difficult to get into this industry during downturn and at my age. I am currently 48, but I am very fit. I am still coaching tennis during my 2 weeks off, however slowly transitioning fully into Oil & Gas. When I am a little established with Easternwell I will give up tennis coaching.

2. What made you decide to undertake training with Harness and what course(s) did you participate in?

I really just did online research then called Harness. I did 5-Day Rig Ready. Then I did on my own and without any industry experience I did IWCF Level 2, which I know most people in office probably remember me doing:)) I studied 6 hours a day for 6 weeks to come to do this course. Rory (Harness Account Manager) can explain more. But I was very determined to pass and get in to this industry.

3. How did you find the training you undertook with Harness? i.e. was it useful and relevant in helping you reach your career goals?

The training was relevant and did help me reach my career goals.

4. After completing your training course(s), what were your next career steps?

After training I hired a car and with some business cards, cover letter and CV I drove to every Oil & Gas drilling contractor in Queensland and knocked on the door. I found online applications were getting me no where.

5. Did you self-fund the training course?

Yes, I fully self-funded myself. Airfares and motels included.

6. Do you think it was worth the money and do you feel you got a return on your investment?

Yes, it is just a shame for me that I couldn’t claim on my tax due to working in a non-relevant job to my training. Then now I am in Oil & Gas I can’t go back and claim old expenses.

7. What next? Are you planning more training?

I have now been with Easternwell for 4 months. I am still on probation due to early hitches badly affected by rain. I need to pass my probation, which should all be good. Then I will consider next steps. However, Easternwell will probably fund further training. But I will consider what else I could do to make myself a more valuable employee. I would consider funding more training. But for now I just want to concentrate on my role as a Leasehand.

8. How important do you think training has been in helping you reach your career goals?

The training was very important in helping me reach my goals. Rig ready a necessity. However, IWCF has really made people sit back and take me seriously.

9. What would you say to someone contemplating a career change or an intensive piece of training but is unsure how to proceed?

I would advise any one considering a career change to be open to everything and consider everything first. As for next step, if they have decided on Oil & Gas I would advise them to obtain as many of the required tickets and licences that are required. This shows a dedication to get into the industry and less expenses for future employer. As Rory (Harness Account Manager) probably told I funded myself for absolutely everything. So when I went to any company I could go straight into the field. I got my own Skillpass and DCGI also, which most don’t get and a company will put a future employee through this when they get a job.