Apprentices working at Aquaterra Energy, the offshore engineering solutions company, have commended its apprenticeship programme, which provides valuable hands-on experience for young people and career changers wishing to enter the oil and gas industry.

Aquaterra Energy runs the apprenticeship programme in partnership with a number of education providers, including Lowestoft College, and works with the students to plan their career progression as they learn.

Steve Way, Human Resources Manager for Aquaterra Energy said: “Our apprentices receive a unique learning experience and undertake real tasks and demanding challenges from the moment they start. Oil and gas is an important industry in the UK and the value of offering apprenticeships such as ours cannot be understated; providing long lasting talent for the growing offshore sector is vital in maintaining growth in our industry and we are delighted that we’ve received such a positive response to our programme.”

Aquaterra Energy’s apprentices work on a three month rotation between different departments, spending four days each week at the company and the fifth day on their college studies. The company’s existing three apprentices are Stuart Knights and Lee Grice, who have completed their BTEC Level 3 Diplomas at Lowestoft College in Operations and Maintenance, and Oliver Gardiner, who is currently studying for his Level 3 Engineering and Mechanical Maintenance Diploma.

Oliver Gardiner said the scheme has enabled him to find what he was looking for in a career: “I have been given the opportunity to work on projects in international locations in order to gain more hands-on experience and really enjoyed the variety of the tasks, with no two days being the same. I’d welcome the chance to stay with Aquaterra Energy after my apprenticeship; the scheme has provided me with some fantastic opportunities with scope to travel and further understand what offshore operations are like.”

Aquaterra Energy believes its partnerships with schools and colleges can help inspire young people to enter the industry and gain an insight into a unique and often challenging career. Lee Grice reveals that, while studying for his Level 3 BTEC Diploma, he attended a presentation by Aquaterra Energy at his college which sparked his enthusiasm and resulting in him applying for the scheme:  “When I saw Aquaterra Energy’s presentation at college I knew I wanted to work for the company. I thought the apprenticeship scheme seemed like a great opportunity for me and I still have so much to learn.  When I’ve finished the apprenticeship I’d love to stay on with Aquaterra Energy and experience more of the offshore industry.”

Aquaterra Energy’s apprenticeship scheme gives young people the chance to work on a  fully operational offshore rig, and this often means travelling to the other side of the globe and living on site.

Stuart Knights, an Assistant Service Technician at Aquaterra Energy who joined the company through the apprenticeship programme, said: “I have always had a keen interest in engineering from a young age, and I love to travel, so this industry seemed like the perfect fit.

“After coming across an Aquaterra Energy presentation at college, I was blown away by the amazing experiences and opportunities the apprenticeship scheme offers and signed up immediately. Soon after, I was sent to assist in the completion of a subsea structure in Vietnam, with my own list of challenges and problems to solve. The chance to travel the world and face unique challenges every day gives me a real sense of job satisfaction.”

All three of Aquaterra Energy’s current apprentices believed programmes such as this can provide a valuable opportunity for young people. Oliver Gardiner said: “Apprenticeships are definitely the way forward in this industry and allow students to earn while they learn. I’ll be fully qualified by the time I turn 22 and the experience I have gained with Aquaterra Energy will provide me with an exciting and respectable life-long career.”