Apprenticeship program a boon to WA oil and gas industry

: EAG Academy’s apprenticeship program will eventually produce qualified process operators, mechanical fitters and instrument electrical apprentices. (Image: ©eakkachai nimaphan/ Shutterstock)

: EAG Academy’s apprenticeship program will eventually produce qualified process operators, mechanical fitters and instrument electrical apprentices. (Image: ©eakkachai nimaphan/ Shutterstock)

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Western Australia (CCI) has facilitated a new standardised education and training program to increase the supply of safe and skilled workers in the oil and gas industry.

An enterprise of the CCI, the Energy Apprenticeships Group (EAG) Academy received more than 600 applications for its first intake. A shortlist of 36 high-quality candidates were identified to attend an assessment, with a special focus on meeting diversity targets of 40 per cent women and 20 per cent Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

The first intake of 16 process operator apprentices started their four-year training program on 1 February.

The training will involve two years in Perth at the Challenger Institute of Technology’s Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training (ACEPT), followed by two years of real-world experience as a fly-in fly-out operator at various onshore and offshore oil and gas facilities across Australia.

The program will eventually produce qualified process operators, mechanical fitters and instrument electrical apprentices.

EAG General Manager Pat Tierney said the Academy would help prepare the WA oil and gas industry for future success.

“We’re providing a training solution for the entire industry that delivers results more efficiently than any one business because we’re sharing resources and costs and reducing repetition in the recruitment and training stages,” Mr Tierney said.

“Local-based workers are up to four times cheaper to employ than relocated expatriates and our program will increase the global talent of oil and gas operators.”

The EAG has embarked on the program with the partnership of industry leaders Quadrant Energy, Shell, Vermilion and Woodside. CCI Chief Executive Deidre Willmott acknowledge the proactive and innovative approach taken by the industry leaders in contributing to the development of the new training model.

“CCI, through the EAG Academy, is committed to helping oil and gas industry develop a qualified workforce of skilled and reliable employees and to provide ongoing mentoring, coaching tools, resources and support,” Ms Willmott said.

EAG Academy apprentice, 19-year-old Beth Clarke, said she was excited about her new career in the industry.

“You’re getting paid to learn and at the end of four years, you’re a fully qualified process operator – there aren’t many opportunities like that,” Ms Clarke said.

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