Originally from Thurso, Caithness, Eva Hymers began her career in the energy industry through the Oil and Gas Apprenticeship Programme (OGTAP), training in the Electrical Technician discipline.
After successfully completing her apprenticeship in 2017, Eva gained a trainee technician position with her worksite sponsor, BP, where she progressed to a competent electrical technician before securing a job at Serica Energy. As an authorised electrical technician on the Bruce Platform, Eva carried out maintenance of all electrical equipment onboard and electrical distribution of up to 11kV.
Most recently, Eva has used her experience to make the move into renewables, working as an operation electrical engineer with SSE Renewables on the Beatrice offshore wind farm.
What inspired you to apply to the OGTAP scheme?
I was always very practically minded at school, and a career in engineering was always my goal, making the apprenticeship scheme the perfect next step for me.
On top of this, having grown up in a rural part of Scotland, I was keen to move away after school. Taking part in the OGTAP scheme allowed me to carry out my training at NESCOL in Aberdeen, meaning I still got to experience the social side of further education, without having to go to university.
What was the best element of your apprenticeship?
I would say the on-site training and travelling offshore to the platform was definitely the most exciting part. This is when everything you’ve learnt gets put into practice and you realise just how much you already know about working offshore.
The mix of going to college and on-site training also means you also get to socialise a lot and having such as large and diverse team showed me life from a different perspective – I’ve met fellow apprentices on the scheme that are now friends for life.
Has there been any part of the apprenticeship that you have found particularly challenging?
I would say the most challenging part is adapting to working in a different environment. Working on a secluded platform where you don’t know anyone can be quite daunting to begin with, but then you remember that everyone’s in the same position, whether that’s the first trip in a helicopter or the first time doing a certain job.
Working in such an unusual environment brings the whole team together and they start to feel like your second family. I was surprised at how quickly working offshore felt like a normal days work for me.
There’s currently a big focus on in the industry around the energy transition. How do you feel an apprenticeship prepares you for working in the wider energy industry for example, in the oil and gas industry, but also potentially moving into renewables?
Having just taken a new job with SSE Renewables, it’s clear to me how working in the oil and gas industry can prepare you for working in the renewables sector.
In my new role, I often have to work offshore, on boats, or in restricted areas that many people wouldn’t be used to. When you have previous experience working offshore, companies know that you are accustomed to working in these environments and it won’t phase you.
If you’re looking for training that will stand you in good stead for working across the energy sector, an oil and gas apprenticeship is a good place to start as companies are always looking for employees with our experience because we’ve received such a high level of training in an industry where safety is paramount.
My electrical apprenticeship has prepared me for an energy role anywhere in the UK as all the training is logical and transferable. The assets you’re working on may change, but the principle of how they work will always stay the same.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of applying?
If at school, you had any interest in STEM subjects or how things work– this is a good career for you.
An OGTAP apprenticeship is a great opportunity to get a solid trade under your belt.
Now more than ever, getting experience in an industry which is needed to fuel society is vital. Those working in energy have been classed as key workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic - proving that roles in the energy sector will always be needed.
The apprenticeship also guarantees a worksite placement with a major company and gives you the chance to get your foot in the door – it’s always great to have an internationally renowned company like BP on your CV!
The social side of working offshore is also a huge advantage – I’ve worked on platforms with gyms, a cinema and snooker rooms. You’ll never get bored in your free time.
I think it’s also important to mention that the teams are very inclusive and friendly. It’s an environment in which you’re constantly learning and there’s always someone there to help.
As a woman, working offshore has taught me that you don’t have to fit a certain stereotype to be good at the job. I’ve met so many women that have shared a similar experience and I can’t think of one reason why girls should avoid applying.