Mark Beckett Suzi Perry

Throughout my working life, I have always liked lists. From being an electrician to a contracts manager in the earliest stages of my career, I found myself involved with organising resources: from equipment to materials, vehicles and even people. I developed trackers in Excel to help keep everyone and everything organised.

Travelling the World

When I travelled the world, I took planning with me – spending 19 months travelling and working for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and the Reserve Bank of Australia. It was when I returned to the UK to work for the Houses of Parliament in supervision and management that I found a pattern: I was utilising lists and trackers wherever I saw a benefit to do so.

My career then took me to Gabon in West Africa, where I became an electrical engineer for a project in the Oil & Gas sector for Shell. I developed a tracker for the site Electrical & Instrumentation works, which the planner for the project loved when I reported progress back to him. He was a lovely man, and suggested I should get into planning – not an easy route to take in the UK in 2009.

Gabon West Africa

Introduction to Project Planning

He said that if I managed to pass the planning course, I might be eligible to work abroad getting the 3 years experience required by the largest UK companies. On my 4 weeks off rotation, I enrolled on a Primavera P6 course in Hereford for three days – a tough course I paid for myself, and passed.

Travelling back through the jungle for three days, I returned to Gabon – proudly showing John the project planner my newfound qualification. We discussed ways of becoming an experienced planner, and he sought permission for me to assist him once I’d finished my daily electrical work. I’d be set on drafting a plan for Electrical, Instruments and Mechanical – my first hands-on planning experience, that I learned so much from.

I formulated the idea of becoming a freelance project planner back in 2010, and toyed with how viable it would be. But the software and the licenses were prohibitively expensive, and were reserved for corporate businesses – so the idea was shelved.

So I continued working as an Electrical Engineer, Project Lead and Project Manager at BP for nearly six years – constantly working alongside project planners. I discussed with them what their roles were, and used my knowledge to help them in any way I could and get involved as much as possible. 

Following on from this, I received permission to be mentored by a professional planner a few hours a week, when a timely departure by another planner meant I could apply for a role. My application was successful, and I became the lead planner for BP Saltend. 

The Beginning of Beckett Planning Solutions

Over the next 4 years I developed my skills and training, yet the idea of running my own business kept coming up. On holiday I’d scribble notes, jot down ideas, and make lists, often when my son Alfie was sleeping!

After returning from holiday I started discussing these ideas with my brother Lee. We began to research, strategise and shape the business – and decided to take the plunge and set up a limited company in September 2017. 

We suffered a year long setback along the way when I discovered I needed a new hip, which caused the business to lay dormant while I continued my work at BP. When I was in a position to leave and work on the business full-time: BPS Ltd. was born in November 2018.

Mark Beckett