A Bright Horizon Offshore

A very quick overview is that the energy, oil and gas industry is booming and more companies are waking up to the benefits of employing service leavers.

There is an increase in employees required which is a gap hardly being filled at the moment. Colonel Martin Newman spoke to Captain Euan Sandison, a former REME and infantry officer he took the plunge offshore. Euan talks about his move from soldiering to offshore: Due to the downsizing of the market and the oil industry in the 90s many companies did not hire any new staff. This has created a hole in which is exasperated by many of the senior members of the industry due to retire in the next five years. Companies are hiring a lot of graduates but it takes a long time for them to grow into management positions.

Some oil companies realise some of the transferable skills that ex-military can offer. This is a bit of a gamble as in the industry experience is everything and any experience not related to oil is a rather hard sell. Certain companies have programs to help industry joiners to gain an insight in a compressed period of time. I for example went through a five week training course where I was given presentations on all aspects of my company (Subsea Engineering services mainly) as well as other ‘soft skills’, company doctrine. and the offshore survival courses.

Out of my course of four there were two civil engineers joining the industry and two ex-military. This company was almost exclusively staffed by holders of an engineering degree and deals mainly with office based jobs onshore. There is a downside and for more of the manual and unskilled offshore jobs there is a long waiting list and it can seem quite nepotistic at times.

Having a trade is a huge bonus but those wishing to join the industry shouldn’t think it is as easy as completing the BOSIET and MIST (offshore required courses) and walking into an offshore job. Networking or studying up on the current ‘pinch points’ in skilled labour will pay dividends and may help you secure a job by tailoring your resettlement appropriately. This is caveated with being backed up in a relevant trade, an example being that a Rope Access Technician course will allow you to go offshore and be a RAT, if you can’t paint, weld, or conduct NDT (Non Destructive Testing) then there is no point in you hanging off a rope in the middle of the North Sea.

The industry is exceptionally affluent with average wages for an offshore worker circa £70k a year for effectively working six months of the year (3/3 or 2/2 rotational basis). With this in mind there is no shortage of applicants so the right level of knowledge of the industry and appropriate skills and qualifications is recommended. Lots of interesting stats on pay and the employment crisis (too many leaving) in the oil industry.

I love it, since I joined in May 2013 I was training for a month, working on some interesting projects, and then my request to work internationally was accepted and I was moved to Baku. All in a better order and suitably compensated for my troubles. A piece of cake after nine years of being moved around from one shoddy room in the mess to another.