Sophie Ewen, aged 21 is currently 3rd Year in the Oil and Gas Apprenticeship programme, following the Process Engineering discipline.
She is currently offshore with her Sponsoring Company Chevron, based on the Captain Platform, (90 miles) North of Aberdeen.
I am on a 3 on, 3 off rotation, working 12 hours hour shifts daily 6am-6pm. My daily routine consists of waking at 3:30 am to go to the gym for around an hour and 15 mins before returning to get ready for breakfast before heading to the worksite for around 5:50 for the handover from nightshift to take place. The morning meeting commences around 7am where any updates from the production co-ordinator and the daily tasks which lie ahead. Daily routine tasks tend to be done in the morning, before any new work begins, however this is based on how the plant is operating. Once knocking off shift, its tea a short amount of chill time and then to bed, ready to start all over again the following day.
How did you find out about the industry apprenticeship scheme?
I found out about OGTAP from various people in the oil industry and other people who had gone through the course. I saw advertisement posts on social media and in the oil and gas sector of the newspaper.
What inspired you to apply?
Hearing about the prospects and opportunities offered within the industry and the job role and following in footsteps of family members working offshore was my inspiration. To work in an environment where everyday poses a new challenge ahead.
What were your perceptions of the oil and gas industry before starting?
The perception for me was that offshore life gave a good work-life balance, with plenty of the time at home sounded, which appealed to me, as well as the ability and opportunity to travel.
What has been the best element of the training so far?
The onsite training which is taught by instructors who have previously been offshore, sharing their knowledge and experience to give us a better indication of what it will be like. This allowed me to prepare myself in the best way possible for life offshore. I have found by taking their tips and knowledge on board it has helped with the process of settling in and finding my feet on the installation.
What has been the most challenging part of it?
Adapting to the work rotation, preparing yourself for 3 weeks solid work, with 3 weeks at home. This was a completely new experience for me, having never done anything like it before, but I think the best thing that has helped me is establishing a routine early on for the 3 weeks away, such as set gym times and bed times so that I know I am well rested for the following day. It was also new getting used to being on the go for majority of the 12 hour shift, it is definitely a physically active job with lots of walking and stairs.
How do you think your apprenticeship will prepare you for entering the working oil and gas industry?
The onsite practical training at ASET has provided me with a good insight into life offshore. Most of the instructors have previously worked offshore so can offer an insight to what it will be like and what to expect.
How does being on the industry training scheme help you compared to your peers in terms of progressing your career?
I will have a sponsorship company at the end of my college time to allow me into the industry. If I had just done the college course itself it may be more difficult to get offshore or get a sponsor company.
What is your ideal job after you finish your apprenticeship?
To complete my training and to come out as a process technician, before looking at what lies ahead of me and where my path may take me regarding the industry ladder.
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?
Despite the oil downturn, the industry is on its way up again and the future generation of employees will be needed, with the suitable qualifications and have skilled training.
What advice would you give to young people thinking of entering the industry after you?
I would advise people to apply for OGTAP as it is highly recognised as a prestigious course globally. The training is of a high standard and offers great opportunities.