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Meet Sinead, an Emergency Response, Continuity and Security Manager at TAQA Group

Meet Sinead, an Emergency Response, Continuity and Security Manager at TAQA Group.

“What other route do you get paid throughout, complete with no student loans and an over 96% chance of employment?”

Sinead completed her OGTAP apprenticeship twenty years ago. Today, she’s an advocate for the OGTAP scheme and the fundamental experience it provides for those considering a career offshore.

OGTAP 2023 recruitment closes 24 March. Find out more and apply:

Tell us about your career post-OGTAP.

I finished my OGTAP apprenticeship in 2003. Upon completion, I was offered a full-time position with my sponsor company, Shell, as an Operations Technician and continued working on the Dunlin Alpha asset.

From there, I was promoted to a Senior Operations Technician. During my time on the Dunlin Alpha, I got the opportunity to be involved in many different tasks across the asset. I was also part of the Emergency Response team as a safety representative. I didn't know at the time how instrumental this experience would be for my future career, but I certainly grew fond of the health and safety side of my work.

After a few years continuing to build on my learning of health and safety by completing additional training, I had the opportunity to move into a different role onshore. I joined Shell's safety team as an Asset Safety Advisor. This involved advising multiple assets, including Dunlin Alpha, on their health and safety practices. It was a busy few years but felt very rewarding.

Ultimately, the assets I was working with were bought by TAQA and I moved with them. With a new organisation came lots of new opportunities which I embraced. In 2012, I moved into a global role, using my health and safety knowledge to support the TAQA Group as a whole. I was looking after our supporting businesses across the world, including Iraq, Canada, the Netherlands, Morocco and India. For the first time, I was working across the integrated energy mix including power generation plants.

After my maternity leave, I returned to the UK team as Emergency Response, Continuity and Security Manager. This was a role which developed over a few years, with different elements being added and my responsibility growing. I look after the onshore emergency response teams, who support offshore assets in case of an emergency. I ensure we have the appropriate people, who are well trained and provide on the ground support should an incident occur.

How did the OGTAP scheme prepare you for your career today?

The technical knowledge which OGTAP provided is fundamental. The education, plus the exposure to different people and experiences, is second-to-none.

The people involved in the OGTAP scheme have the right experience to support you on this journey. Everything I learned felt relevant to what I was going to do, tailored to my end-goal, and it was never too academic.

University was never an option for me, but this vocational route gave me the skills and experience I needed to succeed. I felt truly prepared to go out and embrace my career upon completing my apprenticeship.

I always knew I didn't want to be offshore forever. I met many people who, at the time of my apprenticeship, had worked offshore for over twenty years. That just wasn't for me. But the years I spent offshore, and the OGTAP scheme, were fundamental to what I've achieved today.

Having that offshore experience and the technical knowledge which OGTAP provided, in my opinion, makes me more credible. I can share my experience and relate to people better - and I'm grateful for that background.

Tell us about the highlights of your career so far.

A highlight for me is having the opportunity to share my journey with future OGTAP apprentices and advocate for the scheme throughout my career.

When I joined in 2003, I was the only woman. While this was a challenging experience at times, I didn’t let it stop me. I’m proud to have seen a huge step in the right direction around diversity and inclusion within the industry.

Why would you encourage young people to enter the energy industry?

We need energy – whatever that’s going to look like in the coming years. As we transition to new energy systems, there will be opportunities in both oil and gas and across other energy such as hydrogen, carbon capture, utilisation and storage and wind. Completing something as quality as the OGTAP scheme is a no brainer. The technical skills taught will support any apprentice transition across sectors, there’s no doubt about it.

I’d encourage anybody thinking about a career in the energy industry to consider the OGTAP apprenticeship. What other route do you get paid throughout, complete with no student loans and an over 96% chance of employment?

What would you go back and tell your younger self at the beginning of your apprenticeship?

Firstly, I would tell myself to always ask questions and remain inquisitive. The second thing I’d tell myself is to value the mentoring relationships that can come out of OGTAP. Push to be introduced to a mentor, make connections and find someone to guide you through the experience. It will prove invaluable.

OGTAP 2023 recruitment is open. Find out more and apply: