So, you want to go Offshore?

Engineering Graduate Suzie tells us about her experiences

If you’re looking to go offshore to the Wind Turbines, you’re going to need a bit of training…

Hi, I’m Suzie, I’m a Chemical Engineering Student at the University of Birmingham, and I am currently on week six of my ten week Summer Placement. I am based at Grimsby Operations and Maintenance Base, which is the office that runs the operations on the Wind Farms Lynn, Inner Dowsing and Lincs, based offshore 5 kilometres from the coast of Skegness; and onshore Wind Farm Glens of Foudland, up in Aberdeenshire. I am based in the office, compiling reports and presentations on some of the work that has been carried out on the turbines, for management, new-starters, and contractors to find all the relevant information in one place.

On day three of my placement, when I met my Line Manager Tony Lyon, I asked, very nicely, if there was a chance to go offshore. If I could complete all the training by week six, I was allowed.

So I jumped into my car and set sail across the Humber Bridge, to my first training session:

Sea Survival – Week 3 – HOTA, Hull

Sea survival involved a one day training session at the HOTA Centre in Hull. The morning session involved numerous presentations and demonstrations of equipment that you would use in an emergency offshore.

The afternoon is where it got nerve-racking. If you’re going offshore to the oil/gas platforms, you will need to do the helicopter training, which involves evacuating a helicopter when it’s underwater.

Mine was a little tamer, there were 16 of us who had to simulate evacuating a ship and enter a life-raft in the water. Before this we had to adorn our survival suits and lifejackets and practise entering the water. The weirdest thing during this training is not being allowed to swim with your legs, only your arms should be used, to conserve energy.

We had to help each other in (I was dragged in by men a lot stronger than myself) to this 16-children-sized life-raft, after being splashed by the training staff in the dark*. I lost a shoe during the process and was named Cinderella for the rest of the day.

To go offshore you also need to attend a medical examination to see whether you are fit enough. I was told I was more than healthy enough, and sent on my way with my medical certificate, called an ENG-1.

Part 2 of my training adventures involves me scooting off to the North-West for Working at Heights. Stay tuned!

*You’re told you’re allowed to splash them back. I did.