|Where To Start?
Now for the bad news, the easiest way of getting a job offshore is
to have previously been offshore! So how do people get out there in
the first place? Many have used a personal contact, someone they know
puts in a recommendation for them with their own company's onshore
personnel department. This is especially useful when the industry is
going through a lull, as companies tend to be more careful who they
Don't worry if you don't have
any contacts though, most offshore workers were once in the same boat
as you and couldn't use this route to get their jobs either.
They weren't lucky enough to
have the internet to search for information like this site offers
either, so you're already one step ahead of some others.
A lot of the personnel in the
industry have started work way back in the capacity of a Roustabout.
This is the bottom rung of a long and diversified ladder that is the
oil industry. It's the offshore equivalent of an onshore labourer but
with more specialised skills like banking and slinging which you can
learn on the job, or as is getting more common, in specialised schools
teaching these skills to green hands to improve their chances of
getting employment in the first place.
If you are a university graduate
or have skills or a trade that will be of particular interest to
offshore companies, you should mention these in your CV, covering
letter and telephone discussions with personnel departments.
If you are reading the contents
of this site with the intention of getting straight offshore as say an
electrician (if that happens to be your trade), then you may be in for
a shock, no pun intended :-)
In the past it was possible and
in isolated cases it still happens today. However, you may spend years
trying in vain to get in as a tradesman, especially if you do not get
a personal recommendation from someone already employed offshore, who
has worked with you in the past.
There are others who have your
trade and offshore experience to boot. Companies are unlikely to
choose you before them. They don't know how good you are, whether you
are a hard worker or if you can stand being away from your family and
A faster way is to get in at the
bottom. Some companies initially employ 'green hands' as Maintenance
Roustabouts. This post is not present on every rig. Being outside is
better for trades people like electricians, mechanics and welders to
get a job in their trade.
They will be in regular contact
with employees in those departments. However, if you can not get a
start as a Roustabout then try as a Catering Assistant. After you have
been on the rig for a couple of 'trips' and become familiar with
people, you can enquire about getting a job outside. They would be
much more interested in a person that is keen enough to start in a
lower position. That will allow them to pay you less money and find
out if you are good enough in your trade and can put up with being
away from home and dry land for two or three weeks.
If you don't have a trade, don't
worry, as you are not really at a big disadvantage. There are just
slightly fewer offshore career options open to you as you climb the
ladder, e.g. electrician. If you show you are keen you have the same
chance of getting a start as someone with a trade has, sometimes even
higher. Many companies are keen to employ people as Roustabouts who
they can train their own way and will possibly go into a drilling
career. Rowan Drilling, my first offshore employer were a classic
example of this type of company in the 80's & 90's.
Regardless of qualifications,
you will have a far better chance of getting offshore if you have
taken a Basic Offshore Survival & Firefighting course. It is nigh
impossible (certainly in the UK) to get a job offshore without one.
The good news is that if you are
a graduate or have skills or qualifications that are in great demand,
a prospective employer might well pay for you to complete this course.
Otherwise, if you are serious about an offshore career it is an
essential investment in the hunt for a job. A medical is not as
necessary because most companies will insist that you get an
examination with their own doctor before you become an employee
Employment agencies, as opposed
to oil and drilling companies mostly only employ people who have
offshore experience, unless they are very busy. However you should
definitely send them a CV and phone them as some are more flexible
than others about this rule.
If you are looking for a job in the UK North Sea oil industry then
the course for you is Basic Offshore Survival & Firefighting. It is 2½
days long and the certificate is valid for four years, after which you
will have to sit a refresher course of half a day.
The survival course is quite
physical, playing around in lifeboats, pool work, climbing rope
ladders, descending knotted ropes, jumping from height into water, all
of these whilst kitted up in survival suit and lifejacket. Also of
course there is the infamous helicopter simulator underwater escape.
This is nowhere near as scary the second time you do it but still
quite daunting for most people the first time. Suffice to say it is
all done under strict supervision with underwater divers equipped with
SCUBA standing by.
Your employer will usually pay
for the refresher. Doing the offshore survival course in no way
guarantees you work. There are other courses that may be of interest,
such as the comprehensive Europe wide course, allowing you to work in
any sector of the North Sea, Dedicated Firefighting, Drilling School
and Lifting and Handling certification may also enhance your chances
of getting work. The following organizations will be able to assist
you to your exact requirements.
Following is a list of companies
offering Offshore Survival Courses. Some of these companies also offer
other courses :
RGIT Montrose Limited
Tel : 01224 899707
Fax : 01224 873221
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Web : www.rgitmontrose.com
Blackpool & the Fylde College
Tel : 01253 352352
Fax : 01253 356127
Website : www.blackpool.ac.uk
Humberside Offshore Training
Tel : 01482 820567
Fax : 01482 823202
Website : www.hota.org
NUTEC Centre For Safety (Aberdeen)
Tel : 01224 725808
Website : www.nutecuk.com
Petans Ltd. (Norwich)
Tel : 01603 891255
Website : www.petans.co.uk
Warwish Maritime Centre
Tel : 01489 576161
Website : www.warsashcentre.co.uk
You will not be able to go offshore
without a medical certificate from an offshore-approved doctor. Your
GP will only be able to carry out the examination if he/she is
approved by UKOOA.
You will not get a medical
certificate if you fail the drug test!!!