East Anglian students look to oil and gas careers on air, land and sea

Around 135 young people from Norfolk and Suffolk will experience what it is like to work in the oil and gas industry this week. This fantastic opportunity includes seeing inside a helicopter used to transport workers offshore, to scaling a 22-metre high training tower, navigating vessels, as well as meeting with local businesses to explore the career options the sector has to offer.

As part of OPITO’s Platform of Opportunity Week (13th-17th March), in partnership with East Norfolk Sixth Form College, students aged between 15-18 from East Norfolk Sixth Form College, Great Yarmouth College, Lowestoft College, Flegg High School, Acle Academy and Great Yarmouth High School will visit nine companies as they consider their future career choices. While there, they will gain an insight into how energy companies operate, the difference between various job roles and the variety of entry routes open to them.

In addition to exploring one of NHV Helicopters’ aircraft and having the opportunity to climb 3sun Group’s high tower, to get a feel for the types of structure they could encounter, students who visit Lowestoft College will also be encouraged to try out navigating vessels on the training bridge simulation, encounter survival techniques offshore by trying out a life-raft and climb the turbine tower.

OPITO, the safety, standards and workforce development organisation for the oil and gas industry, has also arranged activities at Proserv, Fraser Well Management, Gardline Geosurvey, and AFS Limited. The students will also try out bolting equipment at Gee-Force and help build a working model of Aquaterra Energy’s flagship SeaSwift oil platform. 

OPITO UK’s regional business and communications manager Liz Davis-Smith said: “The Platform of Opportunity Week offers so many opportunities for the next generation to get a unique hands-on look at the type of companies and roles they could aspire to if they pursue a career in the oil and gas industry.

“We are in a fortunate position that so many businesses in the region are keen to show their support, get involved and spend time with these young people who have an interest in putting their passion for science, technology, engineering and maths subjects to good use in the world of oil and gas. Who better to hear about what route to consider or what is involved in a certain company position than the people who are already in these roles and have the benefit of experience.

“The whole industry has been affected by the downturn but there is still an appetite from firms tuned into their future business needs and want to avoid any potential skills shortage down the line especially as their personnel reach retirement age. This programme will allow them to connect with the next generation and demonstrate what an exciting industry it is. In turn, it gives our young people a realistic flavour of the sector before they make important next-stage choices which may affect their career path.”

East Norfolk Sixth Form College Student Services Manager Nicky Casey said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with OPITO for the fourth year, offering these unique experiences to our students and to those of neighbouring schools and colleges”

“I attended the recent SNS 2017 Offshore Energy conference and Simon Gray, EEEGR chief executive said ‘The industry’s future prosperity in the east could only be assured if colleges and universities were offering the right courses to encourage careers in the energy sector’.

“Offering the right courses and great opportunities for our students is something we at East Norfolk Sixth Form take great pride in. We are proud that all our students receive the highest quality teaching and progress to top universities, into meaningful apprenticeships or the world of work. With the energy sector playing such an important part locally Platform of Opportunity Week is a fantastic opportunity to introduce students into the energy industry.”

NHV Helicopter’s base manager in Norwich, Mike Gislam, said: “With the oil, gas and renewable market very prominent in East Anglia, NHV encourages young local people to take interest in the energy sector and consider future careers in this ever-expanding industry.

“Utilising the local resources and companies will initially provide them knowledge and experience which can be a spring board for worldwide opportunities.

“NHV has and will continue to support such schemes, and have a programme of recruiting apprentice engineers within their Aberdeen operation.”

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