By DARA BUTTERFIELD
Shetlander Michael Williamson, 23, has been named 2014 Apprentice of the Year organised by the UK Upstream Oil & Gas Technician Training Scheme.
A former mussel farmer, he previously completed an apprentice in mechanical engineering with Shetland Ferries. Originally from Whalsay, Michael is currently an instrument technician at Edinburgh College.
He was selected after ‘demonstrating an outstanding ability and attitude’ during the four year national apprenticeship scheme which has so far seen more than 1,500 young people enter the industry, creating a sustainable pipeline of technicians coming in at a grassroots level.
Also part of OPITO’s National Oil & Gas Skills Week, two new awards were also presented to recognise the organisations and individuals making a tangible difference to the sectors skills challenge.
Quick Hydraulics, based in North Shields, was named Top Employer for Engagement in UK Education for their work to encourage the uptake of STEM subjects in schools.
And the OPITO Top Military Transitioner Award went to Peter Hall, HSSEQ Manager with Paradigm Flow Services.
Operators and major contractors have invested more than £120 million in the skills programme since it was established in 1999.
John McDonald, Managing Director, OPITO UK, said: “Skills Week has demonstrated that there are some outstanding companies and individuals working in our sector who are delivering tangible benefits around the skills agenda at both a company-wide, local and national level.”
“The reality is that just 6% of the core careers in the industry are offshore and the wide range of activities that have taken place this week have really demonstrated just how expansive the sector is.
“It has also provided a national platform for celebrating the ground-breaking technologies and international reach of North Sea energy companies.
“Good people with the right skills are the powerhouse behind the North Sea. Ensuring we have a sustainable pipeline of people is crucial if we are to build on the heritage of the last 50 years.”
Gordon Ballard, Chairman, Schlumberger UK, said: “National Oil and Gas Skills Week has shown that the oil and gas industry has a real desire to showcase its successes and work together to address its skills challenges.
“We are proud to have been a part of the inaugural event and play our part in rising awareness of the career opportunities in the energy sector.”
David Currie, Head of Aker Solutions UK, said: “We participated in a number of events during Skills Week, including the Doors Open Day which saw 40 university students and future graduates visit our operations in Aberdeen to find out about who we are, what we do and the range of career opportunities available across the subsea, maintenance, modifications and operations areas of the business.”