18 of the oil and gas industry’s brightest shining stars got their first taste of what it’s like to work on an offshore oil platform from the comfort of AIS Training’s training village headquarters in Newcastle.

The OGTAP instrumentation apprentices were trying out the latest virtual reality (VR) training experience developed by 3T Energy Group, parent company of AIS Training. The immersive VR experience provides a virtual tour of a fully replicated “digital twin” of an offshore installation and allows users to interact with the environment. As well as offering a realistic experience of working on an offshore installation, the VR experience simulates some of the real hazards which can be faced whilst working offshore. 

The apprentices thoroughly enjoyed the experience and acknowledged the immersive and effective power of VR for energy sector training.  They were visiting AIS Training to complete the practical element of their OPITO Digital BOSIET (Basic Offshore Induction and Emergency Training) qualification.  This qualification launched in 2017 to offers an alternative way of learning the theory covered on the mandatory OPITO BOSIET course. AIS Training secured the OPITO contract to train all of its 2020 graduating apprentices in the OPITO Digital BOSIET qualification.

Gavin Taylor, Commercial Sales Director at AIS Training & Survivex, said: “We were delighted to welcome the oil and gas industry’s next generation of talent to AIS Training in Newcastle and show them the latest training technology being developed.

“Learning through technology is fast paced in highly visual and auditory environments and it is what this new generation is looking for in everyday life. They have grown up with technology such as mobile phones, gaming consoles and the internet and it’s important to show how we are embracing technology to support their future training and competency needs. It was great to see how much the apprentices enjoyed the VR experience - hopefully it will mean they are much better prepared for that first offshore trip.”

OGTAP, which is managed by OPITO and the ECITB, is one of the UK’s largest industry-led apprenticeship initiatives and has brought around 2000 young people into the oil and gas industry since its inception in 1999. It has one of the highest achievement rates in the country and is currently sponsored by 19 oil and gas operators and major contractors. The programme helps develop skills in four key disciplines: electrical maintenance; mechanical maintenance; process operations; and instrumentation and control. Applications for the 2020 OGTAP programme are currently open: www.ogtap.co.uk (closing 16 March).