The Oil and Gas Technical Apprentice Programme (OGTAP) is one of the UK’s most successful apprenticeship schemes. It provides practical training with a group of like-minded people all working towards nationally recognised qualifications and a foot up into a long-lasting career in one of the world’s most exciting sectors.
The 2018 OGTAP intake saw over 100 people successfully making it through the selection process to begin 21 months of study at either North East Scotland College (NESCol) in Aberdeen or Edinburgh College.
Following their practical and theoretical studies, apprentices work in-house for two years at one of 19 sponsoring companies which include BP, Nexen, Shell, Wood, Aker Solutions and Worley Parsons. Earlier this year, operating companies EnQuest and Serica Energy also joined the programme, which has been running since 1999.
Harry Irvine from Aberdeen was offered a place on OGTAP four years ago and hasn’t looked back. He has since gone onto excel and grown into a full-time role as a mechanical maintenance technician with global oil and gas company, Nexen.
He is part of the offshore team supporting the Buzzard field in the central North Sea. Harry says: “Two years of on-the-job training definitely prepared me for working in what is seen as a challenging career option due to the offshore environment and rotational work. I’ve always felt part of the Nexen team and now that I’m qualified, I feel I’m taking big strides forward.
“A typical day offshore involves routine safety-critical maintenance which is vital for the platform’s successful operations. I have genuine responsibilities and work as a trusted member of the team. All of this is down to my apprenticeship training.”
Robyn Burn from South Shields, Tyneside, joined OGTAP this year. After seeing her dad enjoy a rewarding career as a rope access specialist offshore, Robyn explored routes into the oil and gas sector.
After hearing she’d been successfully accepted onto the programme, Robyn passed her driving test, moved out of her family home into student accommodation, and started her studies as a process operations apprentice at NESCol.
She enthuses: “I’ve been able to settle into life in Aberdeen with the support of my OGTAP mentors, new classmates and friends and I’m able to earn while I learn. An apprenticeship may be seen as an alternative route into the sector than most students take, but I believe the hands-on experience and learning from experienced co-workers will get you into your chosen career quicker.
“OGTAP has an exceptional reputation across the oil and gas sector because of the way you learn and the standard of the training. I’m looking forward to completing my apprenticeship and having an excellent career.”
Applicants to the scheme must be 16 years old by May of the application year (there is no upper age limit) and should have National 5 A-C grades in four subjects, including mathematics, English, one of physics, chemistry or engineering science and one other.
To find out more, go to ogtap.co.uk