Calling All Young Technical Students Looking for an Exciting and Challenging Career
What if you could get paid to learn how to use some of the oil industry’s most advanced technologies – without a student loan in sight?
Guess what? You can. The Schlumberger Maintenance Technician Training Scheme is a fast-track apprenticeship that could, within a few years, put you in charge of an offshore operation. And make you employable anywhere around the world. Or open the way to further training opportunities and a similar career path to a graduate engineer.
Run in a partnership with OPITO, a UK industry body for skills, training and workforce development, the apprenticeship is open to anyone with an interest in science, maths and engineering, and paves the way for exciting – and challenging – careers in a range of engineering disciplines.
“I had planned to go to university, but I knew people with degrees who’d struggled to get into a company because of the lack of hands-on experience. I decided the OPITO apprenticeship would do more for my career prospects.”
“It’s early days, but so far the experience has been great and we’re learning at a great pace. We’ve been given a lot of trust and responsibility in the workshop – even from day one.”
“We recognize the business need for alternative entry points to the company” said Paul Johnston, UK recruiter. “Our graduate programme is well-known, this apprenticeship scheme is relatively new, but is already proving popular with our technical managers in Aberdeen who value the skills the apprentices bring.” The scheme’s recipe for success is its focus on hands-on training, which helps apprentices reach competency earlier than students in non-practical courses and gives them the initial edge when it comes to field work. “I came into the oilfield services industry directly from college and I felt the people with hands-on experience definitely had an advantage over me,” says Schlumberger service-quality manager Stuart Bews. “These apprenticeships really give people a head start, whether they’re working onshore or offshore.”
The first 18 months of the three-and-a-half-year course are spent at college, with three days a week in the classroom and two days of practical experience. A two-year, workshop based
apprenticeship program follows, with five days a week in a Schlumberger facility under the guidance of experienced mentors—working up to an SVQ Level 3 qualification.
Apprenticeships are available across eight different business segments, offering applicants exposure to a wide scope of technologies—and allowing Schlumberger to develop valuable employees across its businesses.
Sandy Cruikshank, workshop manager for the completions apprenticeship, says the course gives trainees first-class knowledge of a range of tools, how they’re used and how different companies deploy them. “Trainees learn about all aspects of completions technology – from testing and cleaning tools to sand management and fibre optics,” he says. “Later, they can work in the base, or choose to go offshore. But, he adds, apprentices should be under no illusions about the responsibility they’ll have to take on: “We have zero tolerance for mistakes, safety and service quality are our number one priority, so they have to get it right from day one.”
Qualified apprentices usually start in Schlumberger as maintenance technicians or field specialists, working either onshore or offshore—or a combination of the two. But, from there, the sky’s the limit, says Johnston. “The apprenticeship is a springboard for ambitious careers within Schlumberger.” Once they become employees, former apprentices can move onto one of Schlumberger’s industry-leading training programmes—perhaps at one of its state-of-the-art training centres around the world. “The experience from the apprenticeship puts them in a very strong position to progress.”
Former apprentices are demonstrating their worth to the company. One is now a senior engineer for Schlumberger in Australia. Another trained in a second discipline, becoming a high-value employee because of his varied skill set – achieving the same status as a graduate engineer. “He’s dual-trained, so he can run a variety of jobs,” says Cruikshank. “Instead of sending out multiple people, you can send out one person. That’s where the business is going and that’s what the apprenticeship is about.”
For more about our apprentices, go to this profile.