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Following the recent celebration of youths all over the world, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Oando Energy Resources (OER), the upstream subsidiary of Oando, and Executive Director of Oando PLC, Dr. Ainojie ‘Alex’ Irune took some time out of his busy schedule to enlighten the youth on what they need to do to flourish in their chosen careers.

In a recent interview obtained by Nairametrics, Irune said adaptability is the only primary skill needed to be successful in the 21st Century workplace.

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See interview excerpts below –

Q. When applying for a job as a fresh graduate, should one go for small, medium or large-scale companies in order to build a competitive career?

A. It doesn’t matter if it is small, medium or large scale, pick a role and a company you are passionate about, focus on the company that will give you the most value, big, small and all…and lastly, work like your life depends on it.

Q. What skills would you say are necessary for success in the 21st Century workplace?

A. Adaptability. Things are going to change in a working environment. Going by the information revolution, I believe a lot of what we do today will be done differently in the future. We need to be dynamic and open to change, we need to learn fast and at the same time, understand that in a world that is full of this level of change, you will quickly be left behind if you don’t adapt accordingly.

Q. If I have a degree outside of engineering, how do you advise I break into the oil and gas industry?

A. I don’t have an engineering degree and I lead the upstream division of an oil and gas company. You can still work in the oil and gas sector irrespective of your educational background. Interestingly, this is an industry that accommodates career development and self-growth.

Q. I am not passionate about the work I do anymore, do you think it matters if your career isn’t something you are passionate about?

A. It always helps to be passionate about your career. I don’t think you will excel to the height that you potentially can reach if you don’t put passion into what you do. I can’t advise you to stay in a job if you aren’t passionate about it.

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Q. What is the softest skill I need to be an effective manager?

A. Be kind. The essence of not being at the top of your organisation is that you are likely to make mistakes. How those mistakes are treated and how you gain the experience to do better next time should all be centred around kindness.

Q. How do you push through setbacks?

A. I think having the discipline that over your dead body in some ways you would never let this happen again. For me, I need to self-reflect. I know for sure that in every setback I encounter, there is a silver lining. Some people disagree, but I have learnt not to take setbacks to heart.


Q. What is the difference between a career and a job?

A. A career is what you attend to on a daily basis with your heart and mind. And a job you attend to 9-5 every day.

Ainojie ‘Alex’ Irune’s proven track record in Oando

He joined the company in 2011 as a Business Process Optimisation Manager, and Oando Energy Resources (OER) Management Team as Chief Operating Officer (COO) in 2018.

As the COO, he has successfully redefined OER’s business model, creating a clearer vision and alignment of focus to achieving the company’s objectives.

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To date, his actions have positively impacted the business, specifically the consolidation of existing assets and operations, improved partner relations, a 21% reduction in the company’s debt profile, a 99% reduction in Reserve Based Lending (RBL), increased daily oil production by 10% to 16,967 and 2P Reserves position by 2%. The company also secured over $1.5 billion in international financing.

Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.


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