Fraser Edwards – 3rd year Mechanical Technician Apprentice
Currently on the Claymore Installation (Repsol Sinopec)
How did you find out about the industry apprenticeship scheme?
I know a number of people who have went through and completed the scheme already, all of which are now in secure positions. Whilst at school we had a number of career open days which provided further information about the apprenticeship and how to get involved.
What inspired you to apply?
With a number of friends and family in the offshore industry, the challenge always appealed to me. It is a career which offers a variety of opportunities and the possibility for future progression. It is an interesting industry to be learning in, with a wide range of knowledge to be gained. I was aware the job would involve challenges, which is great as it always keeps you thinking and learning along the way.
What were your perceptions of the oil and gas industry before starting?
Before starting, I perceived the oil and gas industry as an exciting and ever advancing industry moving forward. I was eager to get involved as it was something different from a normal job onshore. I knew the time away from friends and family would take some adjusting, however the time off is great in return and you soon fit into a routine.
What has been the best element of the training so far?
Some of the college units are extremely interesting and educational and we could learn over and above what was required for the qualification. This helps with understanding future challenges you may encounter within the job. I met some fantastic people at college which I continue to stay in touch with and will be friends for life.
The onsite training offshore has really opened my eyes to the industry and I have been given full exposure on the tasks being carried out. I fully enjoy being part of a busy and successful team.
What has been the most challenging part of it?
Becoming familiar with the layout of the plant took some time due to the area it covers. Being away from home is a challenge at first as you may miss special occasions or events. This soon becomes the norm and you just accept it as part of your job.
How do you think your apprenticeship will prepare you for entering the working oil and gas industry?
It is a great starting position for any young person to learn their trade. With full exposure to tasks on the plant, it shows me exactly what the role entails. With the widely recognised ECITB/OGTAP apprenticeship, employers will be familiar with and understand what you have completed to achieve it. The scheme is highly respected within the industry.
How does being on the industry training scheme help you compared to your peers in terms of progressing your career?
It allows you to study the first two years to gain the required qualifications whilst getting a wage. I know what will be achieved at the end of my apprenticeship which will place me in a good position going forward. The scheme boasts a high success rate once apprentices have completed their time. I feel comfortable about my future and am confident I will find a position.
What is your ideal job after you finish your apprenticeship?
Ideally I would like to slot into a position as a mechanical technician on my current installation. I would like to gain as much skills and knowledge in my job as possible and I would consider future progression if the opportunity were to arise. I get on great with my colleagues and we can all work together as part of a great team.
Given the current climate of job losses within the industry, why would you encourage young people to enter the oil and gas industry - what are the rewards?
It is a career with some uncertainties; however, it offers an endless amount of knowledge and opportunities for those who thrive on learning new things every day. It is financially rewarding and gives a good work – life balance. The opportunity for travelling the world is available if it is something you desire to do in the future once experience has been obtained.
What advice would you give to young people thinking of entering the industry after you?
It is a great industry to be part of and it holds numerous opportunities for career progression. There is always a new challenge every day as each day is different. An apprenticeship in this industry is a great way to be introduced to the offshore way of life. If you are someone who is willing to learn, then this career will provide you with a great deal of job satisfaction and train your skills along the way. Anything is achievable if the effort and hard work is applied.