OPITO Crowns 2017 Apprentice of the Year
Mr Thomas grew up near the St Fergus Gas Terminal in Aberdeenshire passing it on his way to school every day. As well as being inspired by the careers of his stepfather and cousin, he also has more than a dozen friends from the area who are either in the process of completing their OGTAP apprenticeships or have finished it and now working within the sector.
OGTAP is one of the biggest industry-led apprenticeship initiatives of its kind in the UK and has brought around 1,500 young people into the oil and gas industry since its inception in 1999. The program also boasts one of the highest achievement rates in the country and has the backing of 17 oil and gas operators and major contractors.
Managed by OPITO and the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), OGTAP is open to those looking to become apprentices in one of four areas: electrical maintenance, mechanical maintenance, process operations, and instrumentation and control maintenance.
Every year, the best performing OPITO candidate from each discipline is put forward by their college tutors and OPITO mentors for the Apprentice of the Year final. A panel of industry judges interviews each one to decide who should win the coveted title.
This year’s judges were Apache offshore staff support superintendent, Ian Close; Chevron Upstream Europe OC advisor Gillian Sheikh; and OPITO operations director James Hamilton.
The other three OPITO finalists, also in their second year of their OGTAP apprenticeships, were Guy Dennis from Norfolk (electrical maintenance), Aberdonian Jonny Fennell (mechanical maintenance) and Stuart Brown (instrumentation and control maintenance) from Edinburgh.