Learning on the job: An apprentice in Norway’s Oil and Gas industry

“I have always had an interest in unique professions and being challenged on a daily basis. The offshore Oil & Gas industry was the perfect fit for me.” Atlas Professional, Birgitte Solberg is currently studying Niche Drilling and Well Engineering at Stavanger Kommune. Atlas caught up with her to find out more about how she began her career offshore and her recent experience working as an apprentice.

Don’t take shortcuts

“I always wanted to work in a job that would allow me to travel and explore, and working in the Oil industry on rigs and platforms seemed like a natural choice. I thought gaining some experience offshore before studying would give me an advantage when looking for future employment. After two years of high school, I got the opportunity to do an apprenticeship at Farstad Shipping.

“For four weeks I worked as an apprentice Motorman. I would shadow my instructor and conduct routine checks of the engines along with the daily operation and maintenance of the machinery for three of the company’s vessels. The most valuable lesson I learnt was that you must take your time when working with pieces of machinery such as this; don’t take shortcuts they never pay off, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

 Responsibilities as a Roughneck

“When I got my certificate this was the start of a new chapter in my life.” Since then, Birgitte has worked on a variety of offshore rigs as a Roughneck, including working on rotation on the Veslefrikk Oil field. “It’s a bit random that I ended up working as a Roughneck, but the work is varied and involves different operations such as connecting the pipe down the well bore or general work around the rig. My daily checklist consists of oiling the equipment, carrying out operations on the well, maintenance and cleaning the workplace.”

Valuable knowledge and experience

“I heard about Atlas Professionals through another student when I was studying at Stavanger Offshore Technical School. Atlas has not only given me the opportunity to develop my knowledge and learn from experts, but they have also shown me what it is like to work in a team of different nationalities and cultures. This is valuable for when you are working offshore for a long time. To anyone who is thinking about taking on an apprenticeship, I advise that you should listen and ask as many questions as possible. I would also advise to go back into education and build upon your knowledge to have more opportunities in the future.”