Shaun Pattinson ECITB
Shaun Pattinson is in his 3rd year of the Oil and Gas Technicians Apprenticeship Programme (OGTAP) with ECITB.
He is currently based offshore and working on the Northern Producer with Enquest.
How did you find out about the industry apprenticeship scheme?
While researching routes into the industry and required qualifications, I came across the apprenticeship scheme on Myoilandgascareer.com
What inspired you to apply?
I was completing a self-study City and Guilds course with a view to becoming a domestic electrician. I was then made redundant from my current job and looking for a change. My father worked in the oil industry on the design side and so I was always aware of it and decided to apply.
What were your perceptions of the oil and gas industry before starting?
I had always thought that the oil and gas industry was a difficult industry to get into, hard work and long hours away from family and friends. I also had the impression that it was an industry that paid well and gave the opportunity to work all over the world.
What was the best element of the training?
The hands on element to the training was definitely the best aspect. From college to on-site training, you are always pushed to improve your practical skills and put what you have learned in the classroom into practice. This helps to re-inforce what you have leaned and keeps it relevant to you.
What has been the most challenging part of it
As an older apprentice, it was difficult going back to a classroom environment and essentially starting again. I was unsuccessful when I first applied but kept trying and managed to secure a place on the apprenticeship scheme on the second try. It can be challenging working in a harsh environment away from home but the rewards are well worth the sacrifice.
How did your apprenticeship prepare you for entering the working oil and gas industry?
The majority of lecturers we had at college came from industry (not necessarily oil and gas) so had a wealth of experience to pass on, both technically and in terms of what working in that kind of environment may be like. I was lucky to be taken on as an apprentice with Petrofac under the scheme who were there for me every step of the way, they were very supportive and approachable throughout the whole process. The platform I was assigned for the SVQ portion of my apprenticeship on site were also very helpful and supportive throughout so I never felt too overwhelmed or stuck at any stage. Overall, the apprenticeship allowed a smooth transition into the industry and I felt like I was well prepared before moving on to the next stage of the apprenticeship, or indeed, entering the oil and gas industry properly after completing my apprenticeship.
How does being on the industry training scheme help you compared to your peers in terms of progressing your career?
The apprenticeship scheme gives you a good understanding of other disciplines, not just your own, so you can see how other departments impact the day to day working in the oil and gas industry. The number of qualifications gained during the process definitely give you an advantage when looking to progress your career as you already have many of the qualifications required such as SVQ’s and HNC’s.
What was your ideal job after you finish your apprenticeship?
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?
The training received in the industry is of a very high standard which is recognised all over the world providing the opportunity to work further afield if that is what you want. Good rates of pay and time off give the chance to pursue personal interests outside of work, be it travel, sport or simply more quality time with family. Many of the skills and experiences gained from working in the industry are also easily transferrable and desirable by many employers if the worst happens and you need to find a job outside of the industry.
What advice would you give to young people thinking of entering the industry after you?
I was unsuccessful when I first applied but kept trying and managed to secure a place on the apprenticeship scheme on the second try so if you don’t get in on the first try, don’t give up. It can be challenging working in a harsh environment away from home but the rewards are well worth the sacrifice. The hardest thing you can do is to take the first step so stop thinking about it and get that application in. Don’t be afraid of asking questions or making mistakes, it’s the only way you will learn some things and people are more than happy to help if you ask them.