You’ve heard the expression “back to the drawing board”. Well, that’s where most engineering projects start. Hard to believe, but those big plants, pipes, power stations and wind turbines first exist as simple drawings. OK, not that simple. ‘Design & Draughting’, as creating these plans is called, is a skilful and highly computerised business. But if you’ve got good technical and maths ability, are IT literate, have a good eye for detail (maybe even a bit of an ‘arty’ streak) and a great imagination, you’re the kind of person that can handle it.
You’ll be amazed how a three-year Design & Draughting apprenticeship will develop your technical knowledge and practical ability. You’ll learn to use computer-aided design systems to produce detailed engineering drawings, specialising in mechanical, electrical, structural, piping or instrumentation designs. You’ll soon be producing plans you probably never knew you could. Plans for things that would actually have to work in reality! It takes discipline to produce what the client actually wants and needs (in budget, of course). But very soon, you’ll be working in your sponsoring company’s design & draughting team, doing it for real.
Fancy the challenge of Electrical Maintenance without the rigours of the offshore lifestyle? If so, the choice could be a simple one: be an Electrical Maintenance Technician working onshore instead!
The equipment you work on and the environment you work in will be different, but you’ll still repair and plan the electrical maintenance of impressive plant and machines, the environment will still often be harsh, and the job always challenging. Every site you work on, from oil refineries to chemical plants or nuclear power stations, will also still rely on you making the right judgments and performing the right actions every day of your working life.
An Apprenticeship in Onshore Electrical Maintenance will teach you how to find faults in, service and repair complex electrical equipment, and it’ll also leave you in no doubt about the high standards of skill and technique needed to do the job safely and effectively.
An Offshore Electrical Maintenance apprenticeship teaches you critical technical skills and knowledge and how to apply them in super-demanding conditions. Brilliant news, because wherever there’s an engineering construction installation, there’s electrical maintenance. As if one challenge wasn't enough, Offshore (that’s ‘oil rigs and platforms’ to you and me) Electrical Maintenance is what they call a ‘core engineering construction requirement’.
That means the business just couldn’t work without it, so if you do this apprenticeship you’ll definitely know what it feels like to be needed – and to meet some important expectations. Like helping maintain high-voltage power generation and distribution, motors, control systems and electrical equipment that are unique to the offshore environment. We’re talking downhole drilling and subsea technology guys! This really is life at the sharp end.
The Offshore Electrical Maintenance apprenticeship takes a full four years (though don’t forget you’re being paid all the time) with two at college/training provider, then two more at work, when you’ll regularly spend time offshore, where you’ll learn for real how to find faults in, service and repair sometimes massive equipment. With time, talent and hard work the technical and lifestyle challenge of maintaining offshore installations and equipment can be a great training and career option. But no-one’s saying it’s gonna be easy!
Think you can handle ‘pressure’ in a tough location?! Then train as an Offshore Instrumentation & Control Maintenance Technician. Responsible for critical measurement systems for gas flow, level, pressure and temperature, on oil rigs and platforms located in some of the world’s most challenging seas, your work will be vital to the success and security of the place where you and your colleagues live and work.
But there’s a lot to learn before you get to that stage. In a two-year preparatory stint at college/training provider you’ll learn about everything from interpreting technical drawings, connecting and assembling instrumentation, small bore tubing, system fault-finding, monitoring of equipment and maintaining instrument and control systems. You’ll also find out about electronic and pneumatic process control and safety systems too.
The second half of an Offshore Instrumentation & Control Maintenance apprenticeship is all action, as you live, learn and work in your employer’s authentic offshore environment, developing the skills and knowledge to get the measure of a job that comes with a completely different rhythm of life.
There are lots of opportunities to do electrical work in engineering construction, but with where you’ll work and the machines you’ll work on, it’s not like electrics around the house! Electrical Installation Technicians are specialists who install big pieces of electrical equipment, often in tough conditions. This is serious kit on an industrial scale, and includes electrical distribution systems, transformers, generators, electric motors, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.
As an apprentice you’ll learn how to choose the best machinery to put in, as well as all about wiring, assembling and installing electrical components and circuits, the instruments to monitor installed equipment, and how to test, inspect, dismantle and repair it. And you’ll learn to do all this to a high standard in potentially hazardous environments, while also keeping yourself and anybody else in the vicinity safe.
Are you ‘into’ machinery? Would you relish the challenge of being responsible for it in one of the toughest environments on the planet? In a four-year apprenticeship you can put your passion into practice.
An Offshore Mechanical Maintenance Technician looks after valves, pumps and transmission systems, and top-end equipment like diesel engines and gas turbines. All of it out at sea. You’ll learn how to position, install and maintain mechanical plant, find and fix faults, and test and monitor the condition and performance of vital equipment. The offshore setting means you won’t just learn the skills, but also about the demanding lifestyle that comes with this rewarding job as a skilled mechanical engineering operative.
Like mechanical engineering? But don’t fancy living and working out at sea?! If you’re not attracted to the offshore lifestyle, the answer could be an apprenticeship as an Onshore Mechanical Maintenance Technician. You’ll learn similar skills to your offshore colleagues, and carry out a similar role - but on dry land!
You’ll be responsible for valves, pumps, transmission systems and large machinery like diesel engines and gas turbines – all of it impressive machinery at important installations.
Onshore Mechanical Maintenance is still a full four-year apprenticeship, but trainees spend a bit less time at college and a bit more learning onsite in their company’s working environment.
Are you good with tools? Do you like to get hands-on? Do you like a big challenge? Mechanical Fitters assemble, install, test and maintain some of the most important machinery there is, including industrial pumps and turbines that simply have to work. The Mechanical Fitter will first learn about things like identifying different materials, marking out metal, cutting and shaping it with hand tools and machines, assembling mechanical components, and installing big equipment. After a year at college/training provider, two more onsite will see the apprentice working alongside their sponsoring company’s experienced fitters, learning to do everything they seem to make look so easy (don’t worry – they were apprentices too once!)
Modern materials are amazing! They’ve revolutionised the world we live in, and they play a massive role in engineering construction. Any machine or bit of equipment is only as good as the stuff that it’s made of. But how good is that? Finding out is the job of Non Destructive Testing.
Non Destructive Testing is about testing the ‘integrity’ of materials and the welded joints that bond them together – without actually damaging them! It’s the best way – the only way – to make sure the materials (like a piece of strengthened steel, for instance) and the objects they’ve been used to make are up to the tough jobs they are expected to do.
NDT (as it’s sometimes called) is a really interesting and clever business. Things like welded pipework or storage vessels can be analysed using techniques such as ‘ultrasonic’ and ‘liquid penetrant’. The apprentice technician will learn about these techniques, along with flaw detection, visual and magnetic particle inspection and radiography.
This forensic style work is split between the site and the lab, where the important results of the tests carried out will be analysed and logged. As an apprentice you’ll spend time learning the art of NDT in both these settings after a year at college getting to grips with the basics.
Plating is a one of those brilliant traditional crafts that industry just can’t do without. It’s hands on, but it’s got a very technical side too. A plater really fabricates and maintains steel structures. It’s a skilful, challenging job – and because it’s in high demand there are great career opportunities.
As a Plating apprentice you’ll learn to mark out, cut, form and join metal to create, repair and maintain equipment such as tanks and vessels. Starting at college or training provider, you’ll get a grounding in important sharp-end basics like using oxy-gas equipment, cutting and shaping plate and structural steel, assembling objects using lifting equipment, welding, understanding technical drawings, handling and identifying materials and much more. Then you get to go and practise all those plating processes and techniques onsite alongside experienced platers until, finally, you’re one of them!
Your future could be in the pipeline! Check out the incredible pipework
on modern chemical, power or production plants and it’s clear nothing matters
more than pipes. They carry oil, water and gas under pressure, and they have to
be safe and efficient. That makes pipefitting a critically important skill. It’s
also a highly technical one – and a job of real precision. As a Pipefitting
apprentice you will learn how it’s done
and learn to do it too!
The pipefitter’s skills include laying out, marking out, cutting, forming and joining metal pipework together. The theoretical stuff at a college or training provider will teach you how to read and interpret industrial drawings, symbols and specifications, how to cut and shape pipe using hand and machine tools like grinders, saws and even oxy-gas equipment.
You’ll find out how to form pipe too, using bending machines, and assemble it with nuts, bolts and welding equipment. Then, you’ve got to make sure it works … all in the challenging conditions of an engineering construction site. Pipefitting? No pressure!
Can you imagine the new Wembley without its world-record steel arch? The extraordinary metal that is steel is the most important material in engineering construction, and Steel Erecting is the skill of moving and assembling the steel structures in tough ‘plant’ environments – oil rigs, nuclear plants, wind farms – where most engineering construction takes place.
If you like ‘putting things together’ and fancy taking it to a whole new level, a Steel Erecting apprenticeship could be for you!
The challenging work of lifting, aligning, assembling, erecting and fixing structural steel components starts with the theory. You’ll learn to read and interpret engineering drawings, and all about how to handle components, and how to identify and work with different materials.
Before the steel erector moves or constructs anything they need to work out precisely the right position for the structure to be assembled. They then carefully and skilfully use cranes and mobile work platforms to safely position extremely heavy and sometimes massive components. Then … they have to join them together so they won’t fall apart under any circumstances!
In Steel Erecting, as with all apprenticeships, you’ll combine ‘off the job’ and ‘on the job’ learning, and you’ll come out not just qualified but having constructed a career opportunity in one of the industry’s key roles.
Most engineering construction projects are complicated, big and expensive. They need good organisation and good leadership. They need to happen on time, on budget and to the right standard. This doesn't just happen by accident – it’s the task of a Project Controller.
A Project Controller might be the only person who understands a whole project. They need to see both the big picture and the detail, and make sure everything is going to plan. To do that they break down each big project into small projects. If each is successful, so too will the overall project be.
A Project Controller has to be a good communicator. They work with project managers to make sure they have the information they need to make the right decisions as the project progresses. They also have to understand the whole business, working both offsite and onsite, controlling everything from welding to wiring onsite, to how long a project will take, how much it will cost, how the materials and machinery needed to complete it will be in the right place and the right time, and how the work will be handed over to the most important person of all – the customer! Great project control? No problem!
Maybe it’s the white hot flame and the dark glass face mask, but welding just looks so cool!
Welders aren’t just a pretty face though. It’s an essential technical skill, which uses extreme heat to fuse the metal of pipes and plates to create and maintain crucial structures and components. A professional welder needs good knowledge of both materials and techniques, in both theory and in practice. As an apprentice you’ll learn everything you need to know to take up your job as a welder, including reading and interpreting welding specifications, deciding which welding process to use, selecting material and equipment, and – of course – welding to the highest standard. As with all ECITB apprenticeships, after an off-the-job introduction to the fundamental skills you will develop your talents working alongside experts in your sponsoring company’s day-to-day business.
Ever seen a massive object being moved on telly and wondered how it’s done? A Moving Loads Apprenticeship will show you. When you finish, you too will be a ‘rigger.’
Riggers are the specialists responsible for lifting, moving and positioning large objects on an engineering construction site. Working with colleagues like crane operators, they carry out the safe movement of plant, equipment and structural steelwork, often manoeuvring it into its final position.
Why ‘rigger’? Because they construct ‘rigs’, using pulleys, ropes, winches and things to do the hard work of lifting things for them. Crafty, eh?! The objects on the move can be huge and heavy, but Moving Loads is also often about doing precision work in a tight space. Getting it right is critical to the success of any project.
As a rigger, you will have to use all the information you can get, and your own judgment, to plan the move, deciding how best to perform it and what specialist equipment to use. Every move will be new, presenting a unique technical and physical challenge to be solved using your vision, intelligence, strength, mechanical knowledge and communication skills. In some cases a good head for heights may also help!