In this blog we will cover the basic steps you can take and provide some useful information on the topic of how to become an offshore worker. We will include working on both oil and gas and wind farms. The focus will be on how to get into working in this industry with no experience, apprenticeship schemes and hints and tips on what you will need to get your foot through the door.
How to Become an Offshore Worker: Oil
Before we discuss the possible entry points for becoming an offshore oil worker, there are a number of basic conditions you must satisfy before you go ahead and apply. These include:
- You must be at least 18 years of age;
- There is a height requirement due to some of the tasks you will be performing – you must be 1.63cm or 5’5”;
- You must be both physically and mentally fit: you will have to pass a physical exam before being offered a position. This is known as the BOSIET (basic offshore induction and emergency training) and will test intense survival and firefighting skills;
- You should be a non-smoker and able to abstain from alcohol for the duration of the time in which you are working;
- You must be comfortable working at height and in adverse weather conditions;
- You should be able to cope with the on/off unusual working patterns.
However, if you are prepared to put the hard work in, a job in this industry can be incredibly lucrative. If you feel that you can satisfy these conditions and want to know more, read on.
Entry Route 1: How to Become an Offshore Worker: Oil
If you are thinking of becoming an offshore oil worker and have some small experience in the construction industry, you may be able to secure a position by starting as a Roughneck or a Roustabout.
The day to day tasks you would be performing in this role would include maintaining the equipment, including regular cleaning, repairing the equipment used for pumping the oil, preparing the drilling equipment for use and generally assisting the drilling team. You may also be involved in the use of specialist lifting gear in order to unload goods from ships.
You will need to be a practical person, and be good at learning how to use new machinery. As stated before, the job is a manual one, so you must also be physically fit. You will be working as part of a team so any skills or experience doing so would be an advantage.
You will have to commit to work away from home for a number of weeks at a time. A typical working pattern will consist of working on a platform or rig for 2 to 3 weeks followed by a rest period on shore for around 3 weeks. In your working period you may be working for up to 12 hours a day on a 24 hour shift rota.
Once you have gained experience in a position such as this, it will open up potential opportunities for progression, such as being directly involved in the drilling team.
Entry Route 2: How to Become an Offshore Worker: Oil
Another route into becoming an offshore oil worker is through an apprenticeship scheme. This entry route is common in the offshore industries, as it can provide you with in depth on the job training on many aspects of the job and has great prospects for the future.
There are many apprenticeship schemes available in the UK for potential applicants, where your daily duties will be similar to those mentioned before. You will be often training to become a derrickman or woman, driller or assistant driller. As such you will be working around 25 metres above the floor level on a platform.
You will gain experience assisting with operating and lifting the machinery to place the drill into position, keep records of the day to day drilling processes, and working to stack sections of the drill pipe amongst other things. If you then progress onto a driller position you would be directly involved in coordinating the activities of other staff on the drill floor.
Again, bear in mind that you would most likely be doing a shift pattern in this role, with a 2 to 3 week on, 3 week off working pattern.
Entry Route 3: How to Become an Offshore Worker: Oil
If neither of these options suit you, there are also a number of other positions available in the offshore oil industry. If you have any kind of basic mechanical skills – you are a welder, scaffolder, painter or medical worker, then this industry has potential for you as well.
How to Become an Offshore Wind Farm Worker
Similar to becoming an offshore oil worker, if you wish to find a position at a wind farm you should be prepared, at least initially, for a lot of manual work.
Take a look at the following basic conditions of work:
- You will potentially be performing hazardous work;
- You will be prepared to work at height (some turbines are more than 140 metres high);
- You will be working with electrical equipment most of which will be high voltage;
- You should be prepared for spending some time away from home;
- In an average week you would probably work around 40 hours, Monday to Friday, but may have to make yourself available for emergency callouts.
The wind farm industry is growing tremendously in recent times along with the focus on the environment and as such this is a position which is very much in demand. The Government set targets to cut carbon emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050, and the Paris Climate Change agreement also sees a number of countries in agreement to decrease the number of global emissions in order to protect the environment.
Day to day tasks would involve things like: learning how to perform inspections on systems, finding issues on turbines and repairing and maintaining the equipment – and, as mentioned, you will be climbing up the turbine towers in order to carry out some of these repairs. You will probably have to travel to other sites in order to fix any issues that arise. You will have to continuously update the manager of the site and learn to produce reports and checklists of the progress of the maintenance.
If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, then keep on reading to see how you could get involved.
Entry Route 1: How to Become an Offshore Worker: Wind Farm: Wind Power Training School
The Wind Power Training School is run by Siemens and is a purpose built centre for training up new recruits to get into the industry. Based in Newcastle, it focuses on two main areas for training: technical and safety skills. They aim to focus on ‘real-life’ scenarios in order to equip students with all the skills they will need to enter the wind energy industry.
Siemens were the first company in the UK to offer an apprenticeship programme in 2010, collaborating with City and Guilds to provide a course offering a recognised programme leading into a career in the wind industry.
The recruitment process in order to become a renewables apprentice at Siemens will likely include things such as psychometric tests (see our books on this on our website) as well as hands on site work and work at established sites around the UK.
Find out more about the scheme here: Siemens Apprenticeships
Entry Route 2: How to Become an Offshore Worker: Wind Farm
Maersk is also another key company which offers a training program for those looking to get into the wind turbine industry.
To participate in the training scheme, students are required to have GCSE’s (or an equivalent) to a C to include English Language, Science and Mathematics. Some sort of qualification or experience in ICT would also be an advantage. It will take four years to become fully qualified as a wind turbine technician.
They look for people who are able to demonstrate a high level of commitment and enthusiasm for the role, and as such will be looking for skills such as physical fitness, the ability to be able to pay attention to detail and adhere to strict safety regulations and many more.
Find out more about the scheme here: MAERSK Offshore Wind Training
There are a variety of entry points for getting into the offshore industries, and, as we have shown, many of them require little or no experience. Many companies are happy to train up staff with the right attitude and who possess the ability to be able to carry out a range of manual tasks.