Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017 – OGTAP case studies


10th March 2017

For the past four days we’ve been celebrating Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017 by highlighting some of the inspirational young people who are the next generation of the oil and gas industry.

The Oil and Gas Technical Apprenticeship Programme boasts one of the highest achievement rates across the UK.Managed by OPITO and the ECITB, the programme is open to those looking for a career path into the sector.

Here are the four young people we’ve featured this week telling their unique story about the OGTAP programme:

First year OGTAP apprentice, 20-year old Sophie Ewen from Cullen in Moray.

“My dad has worked in the oil and gas sector for 25 years and I’d always wanted to follow in his footsteps. I enjoyed science and maths at school so it seemed a natural progression to take an HNC in electrical engineering and control and measurement at Fraserburgh College.

“From there, I applied for a place on OGTAP. I have friends in Buckie who have successfully progressed through the programme and are now in good jobs with clear career prospects as the programme is held in such high regard.

“The first half of the apprenticeship is spent at college to help prepare us for the second two years working under the guidance of a sponsoring company.

“Learning the theory can be challenging as there are mini-assessments throughout the term, but with the practical work running alongside it, it does make it easier to understand.

“Getting used to living away from home has also been a learning experience, especially having to look after my own washing!”

Matthew Duncan from Denny outside of Grangemouth is in his second year of the OGTAP programme.

“I worked part time at a car mechanic business while I was still at school. It was through this role that I discovered I have a natural ability for finding equipment faults and fixing any issues. This made me consider process engineering as a career.

“Living so close to Grangemouth Refinery, there are no upstream oil and gas organisations locally so I looked to my group of friends out with the local area for inspiration.

“I spoke to a friend who was already an OGTAP apprentice for advice and her enthusiasm for the programme, living in Aberdeen and the opportunities it was bringing her, was definitely a defining moment and one that spurred me on to apply.

“The programme is going really well and at the end of last year, I came runner-up at OPITO’s Apprentice of the Year awards.”

Falkirk native Bethany Strang, 23, has almost completed the four-year OGTAP programme and works for Repsol Sinopec Resources UK on the Piper Bravo platform.

“Having dyslexia made the college work challenging for me but with a bit of hard graft I was able pass everything.

“Also, being a woman in what some see as a male dominated industry might be considered a challenge but I’ve never felt that way and am treated as one of the guys. I’m actually the only female that works outside on the Piper Bravo platform which I’m quite proud of.

“Some of the other challenges have been getting used to 12 hour shifts each day for three weeks at a time, or coping with a trip of dayshifts followed by one on nightshift. But everyone has been really helpful and I have progressed with my Level 3 NVQ offshore and am due to complete it in May. The life skills I’m learning are second to none.”

Dean Bain completed his process apprenticeship in 2015 and is still working for his sponsoring company Apache.

“I certainly found the apprenticeship very rewarding. Earning while learning was always a must for me as I had very little interest in going to university. I was fortunate to be accepted onto the OGTAP scheme as I knew the application numbers were very high and the selection criteria is very thorough.

“At 17, I was one of the youngest in my year as I had come straight from school. The majority of my peers had left school and found jobs or gone to college before being accepted to OGTAP. I believe that coming straight from school helped me more as I was used to the learning environment and the routine, but everyone got into the swing of things soon enough.

“The hands-on days at college prepared us for what was to be expected and the lecturers were mostly former offshore workers making the information they passed on very valuable.

“I’ve spoken to younger friends interested in applying for OGTAP and it feels great to know that I've inspired them as a result. I found the programme very rewarding and always speak highly of it when I'm asked where I started out. I still get asked in the street from parents if I would mind speaking to their sons or daughters about the scheme and the application process which delivers a feel-good factor for me.

“I can't recommend the apprenticeship programme enough as it has given me a challenging job which keeps me busy and a lifestyle I enjoy thoroughly.”

For more information on OGTAP visit

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