I was recently asked what I though about taking courses to improve the chances of an experienced Canadian mariner, transitioning into the Oil and Gas sector.
I answered below, from my observations of the industry; Id love to hear what you think, what others experiences might be.
The offshore Oil and Gas in Canada is a funny place. I have not been able to identify a path to success in getting into that market, especially as a Canadian. Taking courses are in my view, a waste of time and money. First off there are many different courses that don’t seem to be recognized; the HUET and BOSIET (helicopter escape and basic offshore safety) are probably the only ones that seem to be common requirements. However these don’t really increase your chance of getting a job offshore. The rest of the listed “required” courses just seem to be an excuse to reject applications, which I am sure operators are inundate with them – being the only part of the marine industry that had the reputation of a living wage.
The most critical thing seems to be your residency status; on the East Coast of Canada, by law, foreign companies (as most operating on the east coast are) must hire certain amount of locals. Typically once the local component is hired, the company will train accordingly to the their required standards. All other positions typically go to non Canadians – instead of going to other Canadians outside the region. Unless of course you have the “previous offshore” experience, but if you have this then you already have the required training they are looking for.
So to summarize, I don’t really see a decent chance of a Return on Investment in taking specific training for the Offshore Industry in Canada. Internationally, you are not that attractive to a foreign operator unless you have previous experience, but you can’t get the possibility of experience, unless you live in the regions that are required to be hired from. Typically, operators will look out of Canada to fill remainder of the positions, and the government freely lets them do that. With international operators, despite the slick websites, it’s impossible to determine exactly what the hell they are looking for in an employee. Hiring seems completely random, and more akin to being at the right place at the right time, trained or not – anything that is missing on the training side, they will provide.
That’s the way I see it.