A former trainee car mechanic who switched careers to join the UK oil and gas sector – at the start of the N. Sea downturn – is on track for success after scooping the sector’s Apprentice of the Year Award 2016.
Lewis Nichols moved to Aberdeen last year from Norwich to take up a place on the Oil and Gas Technical Apprentice Programme (OGTAP) as a mechanical maintenance apprentice at North East College Scotland.
The 21-year-old made the change after seeing the potential for long-term, international career opportunities in the oil and gas industry which weren’t open to him in his previous field.
“I’d been a car mechanic apprentice for two years but I didn’t feel like there was a clear career ladder there for me. The oil and gas sector has more options for skills development and a multitude of different avenues to pursue in terms of career progression,” said Lewis.
“Joining the industry just as the oil price fell and the impact of the downturn started to be felt didn’t put me off in the slightest. I’m confident that by the time I complete the on-the-job training phase of the apprenticeship programme the industry will be more balanced and will have a sustainable future for those with the right skills and experience.”
The annual accolade is presented by OPITO, the oil and gas industry training organisation. It recognises and acknowledges apprentices with outstanding ability and attitude during the two-year classroom-based study phase of the four-year apprenticeship programme.
NIchols is due to complete his college training in Spring 2017 before embarking on a two-year worksite placement.