The UK’s offshore industry apprenticeship scheme is gearing up to welcome over 100 apprentices to its ranks, almost double the number who joined the scheme in 2016.
105 students will join the industry in September through the Oil and Gas Technical Apprentice Programme (OGTAP). The scheme, managed by industry skills body OPITO and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), has brought almost 2,000 young people into the industry since it was set up in 1998.
This comes after Oil & Gas UK’s 2018 Workforce Report confirmed that industry has continued to successfully recruit young talent throughout the downturn, with the number of offshore workers under the age of 30 up by 20 percent since 2016. However, with women representing just three percent of the offshore workforce, and 23 percent for the industry overall, the industry must retain its focus on improving diversity and inclusion across the sector. Applications for next year’s intake are therefore particularly welcome from female and ethnic minority applicants.
2018 apprentice Jess Logan, who is 17 and will be relocating to Aberdeen from Portsmouth said: “My cousin, who is a mechanic in the oil industry, did the OGTAP programme a few years ago and told me how amazing it was. The more I learned about it the more it seemed like the best way to pursue my dream career of becoming an electrician.
“I’ve always loved learning how things work and I grew up doing electrical work with my dad. I find it so satisfying, especially the work I’ve done on new build houses. To think that the electrics in those homes that people use and rely on every single day have been fitted by me is amazing. I love being able to see the impact I’ve had!
“I’m hoping the apprenticeship scheme will develop my love and understanding of electrics and the opportunity to work in the oil industry will give me an insight into a different way of life as well as the chance to meet new people. I’m also excited at the prospect of getting a helicopter to work!”
Paul Atkinson, Chief Executive of the Offshore Contractors Association and a member of the steering group that oversees the scheme, said: “This apprenticeship scheme is a key part of industry’s ongoing efforts to encourage young people into the industry, which offers exciting opportunities for a fulfilling career.
“This year’s intake of 105 apprentices, up from 55 two years ago, demonstrates that we have successfully continued to recruit young talent into the industry throughout the downturn, a positive sign for sector as it continues to recover from the most severe and prolonged global oil downturn in history.”
Deirdre Michie, Chief Executive of leading representative body Oil & Gas UK, said: “The industry’s Oil and Gas Technical Apprentice Programme is recognised as one of the most successful apprentice schemes of its kind, providing young people with the theoretical and practical experience needed for a rewarding career in oil and gas.
“I’m delighted to see so many young people preparing to join the industry in this year’s intake, however we still have a way to go if we want to bring increased diversity to our workforce. As part of the industry’s drive to address the gender balance, OGTAP has established a diversity group to explore ways to attract more female applicants to the industry apprentice scheme. I would encourage more girls to follow Jess’s example and apply for the scheme next year.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome our apprentices and wish them all the best for a long and fulfilling career in the oil and gas industry.”