A former trainee car mechanic from Norwich, who switched careers to join the UK oil and gas sector at the start of the global downturn, has scooped OPITO’s Apprentice of the Year Award.
Lewis Nichols moved to Aberdeen in 2015 to take 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, OPITO said.
“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,” Nichols said.
“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,” he added.
The annual Apprentice of the Year Award recognizes and acknowledges apprentices with outstanding ability and attitude during the two-year classroom-based study phase of the four-year apprenticeship program.
Lewis, is due to complete his time at the college next spring before embarking on a two-year worksite placement.
Managed by OPITO and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), OGTAP has brought around 1,500 young people into the oil and gas sector since its inception in 1999.
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