Altrad – 2026 Vision
Altrad are the critical human infrastructure that enhances the lives of millions, by the value-added solutions it provides in support of the nation’s vital assets.
“Quite simply, a journey at Altrad begins with a desire to create a better tomorrow,” says Chris Garland, Altrad’s Director of Operations (offshore). This will turn out to be a recurring theme in the discussion about Altrad, a company that aspires to be the most trusted and valued support services company. With over 7,250 people across the UK and Ireland, Altrad’s goal is to deliver extraordinary outcomes for its clients.
But it is also a company that has been going through a period of change, in advance of the launch of the new Altrad 2026 strategy, which was rolled out at the end of February 2021.
“From an external perspective, things might have looked quite quiet during 2020, but the truth is, we have been really busy,” Garland says. “We’ve been learning from the lack of focus and absence of strategic direction of the past – by putting in place a highly motivated, client-oriented organisation that has the skills and competence to deliver value-enhancing solutions to our new and existing clients.”
The new approach has been gathering momentum, as seen in the form of two new contract awards during 2020. The first of these is a contract for the provision of fabric maintenance services for one of the leading oil and gas operators in the southern North Sea. In addition to that, Altrad has been awarded a hook-up and commissioning contract for the provision of temporary access, engineering design, insulation, corrosion and fire protection, rigging and LOLER support to enable the hook-up and commissioning of the Tolmount offshore gas platform.
“But that’s just the start of our repositioning journey” adds Garland. “We are refocusing our efforts to create deeper, and more meaningful relationships with several new clients and a number of like-minded, strategic partners who share our values, excitement and vision for the future. I hope to be in the position to announce further successes as 2021 unfolds.”
A Time for Transition
Whilst Altrad is changing – their markets are changing faster than at any time in our lifetime, driven by growing concern over climate change, the energy transition and rapidly advancing digital technology. Garland believes this change will create challenges, but also considerable opportunities for Altrad.
“Whilst we see significant growth potential in our traditional offshore oil and gas markets today to expand our presence, in the longer term these markets will inevitably see a contraction, reflecting lower production levels,” Garland acknowledges. “That said, we have a range of skills that can be deployed to support offshore decommissioning activities as these assets enter the decommissioning and abandonment phase.”
As well as providing its services in the fields of decommissioning, Altrad is also well positioned to aid the growing markets that are rising to take their place in the transition.
“Some of our existing markets such as clean fuels, are experiencing rapid growth and investment, such as renewable energy, nuclear power generation, nuclear new build and nuclear decommissioning,” Garland says. “Indeed, Altrad are well placed to capitalise on such growth opportunities as we support several renewable energy generation assets and have an enviable position in nuclear power generation – as we support EDF’s entire fleet of UK nuclear power stations, via a £350 million contract we signed in early 2020. We have a strong presence on EDF’s 3.2GW Hinkley Point C nuclear new build project and provide a range of services in support of the UK’s decommissioning programme for Sellafield and Magnox. We also work at Capenhurst, Springfields and Aldermaston – contracts that are delivered by over 1,000 Altrad nuclear professionals, every day. In addition, we are currently pursuing emerging markets such as hydrogen and carbon capture, which may not be 100% financially viable today, but they are attractive and well suited to Altrad’s skills and expertise.”
Altrad is characterised by curiosity, which Garland describes as “a trait which helps us find solutions to the most complex of challenges – allowing us to work collaboratively with our clients to find a better way, and never stop asking ‘what if?’”
The next “What if?” on Altrad’s list is its strategy to become a net carbon zero business by 2030 or sooner.
“During 2020, we made some extraordinary progress on this journey; we are now recycling 90% of everything we can and we have banned the use of all single-use plastics,” Garland says. “We’ve powered all Altrad offices using only renewable energy sources and will make the majority of our vehicles electric by 2023, with our first electric vehicles already deployed at Fawley refinery.”
Powered by Ingenuity
There is one resource that makes all these achievements possible. As Garland says, quoting the company’s new strapline, “The ingenuity of our people creates endless possibilities”.
“That’s not just a collection of nice words, it’s what differentiates us, as it’s our people that set us apart,” Garland says. “It’s an incredible feeling to know that when I go out to visit clients, there is no way I can oversell their competence, commitment and entrepreneurial spirit.”
From access services, asbestos removal and asset integrity services through to environmental and chemical cleaning, insulation, mechanical, specialist coatings, fireproofing and much, much more, whatever the fabric maintenance challenge, Altrad has it covered.
“No matter how complex the challenge, our people make a difference as we solve challenges through innovation, creativity and teamwork, putting the outcomes of our clients at the heart of our thinking,” adds Garland.
Of course, for that to happen, sourcing new talent is a priority.
“But it’s also about creating a balanced team, as we celebrate the importance of having a diverse and inclusive workforce,” Garland insists. “We provide an inclusive environment where our people can bring their whole-self to work, feel connected and have the space they need to grow – giving everyone an opportunity to reach their full potential.”
Garland believes that in today’s highly competitive market, traditional approaches alone are not enough, so Altrad deploys alternative strategies in its recruitment efforts, which include attracting military veterans and ex-offenders.
“But it doesn’t end there,” Garland says. “Our plans for this year will encompass attracting more women than ever into the sector, via expanding our traditional recruitment processes, supported by a female modern apprenticeship scheme.”
All these efforts are going towards creating a very different, and much stronger version of Altrad. By 2026, Altrad will be 75% larger than it is today.
“Diversification will make us a more resilient, stronger business which is able to absorb an economic shock or a downturn in any of our chosen markets,” he tells us. “This will provide security to our clients, our people and our shareholders.”
Even now, Garland’s message is clear.
He says, “We are not just back in the market, we have re-structured and now have in place one of the most dynamic, client-oriented organisations in the sector – and we are hungry for success.”