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Edinburgh College Student Scoops Top Oil & Gas Industry Award

19 December 2012

A talented trainee on the Upstream Oil and Gas Industry Technician Training Scheme is celebrating after being named OPITO Apprentice of the Year.

Scott Stage, 22, beat off competition from students at three colleges cross the UK to win the top honour in the North Sea oil and gas industry’s official modern apprentice programme.

The award acknowledges outstanding ability and attitude during the four year, national apprenticeship scheme which has brought more than 1,360 young people into the oil and gas sector in the last decade, creating a grassroots solution to the industry-wide skills shortage.

Split into two phases, the programme sees students take part in a 21 month full time course at one of the industry-appointed colleges, before embarking on a two year worksite placement.

Scott, originally from Aberdeen, is studying HNC Measurement and Control Engineering at Edinburgh College.

He said: "I am very proud to have won this award. The scheme has been fantastic and has gone a long way to equipping me with the skills and knowledge needed for a successful career in the oil and gas industry.

"My brother had previously taken part in the apprenticeship and is now working in the industry so I know from his experience that if you work hard and take the opportunities it gives you, coming through this scheme successfully means you are very highly regarded in the industry so it opens a lot of doors.

"The scheme is hugely popular and I applied several times before being lucky enough to get a place but it has absolutely been worth persevering. My ultimate career aim is to be an offshore installation manager and while it might be quite a few years off, this has absolutely been the best start I could have hoped for in my career.”

Operators and major contractors have invested more than £120million into the programme since it was established in 2000, with 13 trainees and four industry sponsors. Twelve years on, the scheme is sponsored by 15 oil and gas companies and trains more than 350 students at any one time, making it one of the biggest industry led MA programmes of its kind in the UK.

Also one of the most relevant in terms of equipping the next generation of workers with the range of skills and experience employers need, it is recognised by Government as exemplar, achieving 93% achievement rates compared to the UK average of around 65%.

Scott will embark on the second phase of his apprenticeship in May 2013 where he will receive on-the-job training with a sponsoring company, being mentored and working alongside experienced staff to gain job specific skills.

Mike Edgar, Curriculum Development Manager of Oil & Gas at Edinburgh College, said: "We are absolutely delighted that another one of our students has been named as OPITO’s Student of the Year for the fourth year running. Scott is an extremely conscientious and pleasant student with a bright future ahead of him, and we wish him all the very best with the rest of his studies and for the future.”

Larraine Boorman, managing director of OPITO said: "The industry apprenticeship programme, managed by OPITO, is just one of the initiatives that can provide a long term solution to developing and retaining the workforce we need to continue to take on the world’s toughest energy challenges.

"Scott should be very proud of his achievement, it was a very hard decision for the judges, with all shortlisted candidates being exceptional but Scott is a worthy winner who strives to do his best at every opportunity.”

The Upstream Modern Apprenticeship scheme is managed by OPITO in partnership with the Engineering and Construction Industry Training Board, on behalf of the industry

More information on the upstream oil and gas industry technician training scheme and OPITO can be found at