Ellie is from Buckie, Moray, and during her time on the Oil and Gas Technical Apprenticeship Programme (OGTAP) has worked a three weeks on, three weeks off rota for Chevron North Sea Ltd on the Alba North fixed platform in the UK Central North Sea.
OGTAP, managed by OPITO in partnership with the Engineering and Construction Training Board (ECITB), has opened doors for some of the brightest young minds in the oil and gas industry, including an increasing number of women.
When asked about being a female engineer, final year electrical apprentice Ellie, 20, said: “My role as an electrical technician apprentice mainly entails the maintenance of electrical equipment from inspection checks to preventative and corrective maintenance. I also get exposure to the operational side of things such as isolating high voltage drives and controlling platform power generation.
“Engineering wasn’t so much a choice of a career for me, rather than a decision to do a job that would grant me what I want from life. I could not envisage myself sitting at a desk, working 9-5 Monday to Friday with little time to entertain my real passion for travelling the world. If I am offered a position at the end of my four years, a career offshore will allow me the time and the money to do this.
“Offshore there are normally around three women on board at any one time to 100+ men, this includes the catering staff. I’ve been told that the Norwegian offshore sector is almost 50:50 female to male. I’m not sure why Norway has more equality; maybe it’s a cultural thing and more women want to work in engineering, or maybe they have more opportunities or had more open and encouraging attitudes decades ago.”
As one of many industry initiatives throughout the year, OGTAP provides real opportunities for apprentices to engage with some of the largest global operators and service companies, including Shell, BP, Chevron Upstream Europe, Repsol Sinopec Resources UK Ltd, Aker Solutions, Wood Group and Maersk Oil North Sea UK Ltd.
The programme has allowed 70 female apprentices to successfully enter the industry, working on the job with these major industry partners and learning in the classroom over 21-months at college to gain nationally recognised qualifications. Most of these have gone on to accept full-time, permanent jobs with their sponsoring company.