One young technician who is well on his way to achieving his goal of a rewarding and globe-trotting career is Kenny Baxter.
The 28-year-old from Fife applied to the Modern Apprenticeship scheme in 2004 and after the initial training phase, he went on to join the Captain Wellhead Protector Platform, 68 miles north of Aberdeen, for his work placement. On completion of his apprenticeship, he successfully secured a job with global energy company Chevron in 2008.
‘I first came across the apprenticeship scheme whilst reading the newspaper. I thought it would be a great route into the industry and it would provide me with the right skills to build a foundation for a long-term career in oil and gas’ Kenny said.
Kenny now works in Houston, Texas, on one of Chevron’s major UK capital projects, Rosebank - a deepwater discovery approximately 80 miles northwest of the Shetland Islands.
‘As part of the Houston-based project team, I am working to provide input into the design of a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel which will be used to process and store the fields hydrocarbons before they are transported onshore’ he said.
‘Before joining and becoming part of the industry, my knowledge was pretty basic. It wasn’t until I started my apprenticeship and went offshore that I really began to understand and appreciate the scale, diversity and innovation the industry offers.
‘I chose to study mechanical maintenance which gave me a great understanding of the responsibilities a technician has for prime mover machinery like high capacity diesel engines and gas turbines. I was also able to develop my ‘nuts and bolts’ knowledge of how to maintain key equipment like valves, pumps and transmission systems.
‘Chevron encourages me to take control of my career and push it in the direction I want it to go. The training courses I have attended, the level of expertise I am surrounded by and the increasing levels of responsibility I have been given are helping me develop my technical skills and setting me up for a successful career.
‘I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the Modern Apprenticeship scheme. The qualifications gained are recognised internationally - so you have the skills required to work anywhere in the world.
‘The one piece of advice I would give anyone who is thinking about a career in oil and gas is, if you have the opportunity, grab it with both hands.
‘I’ve been lucky enough to discover a world of opportunities, challenges and fulfilment where I can pursue my goals, develop new skills and explore new horizons.
‘It’s not just about a job for now, it’s about a job for life, as despite what we sometimes hear, the industry has a long-term future and lots of prospects for someone like me’.