Great Yarmouth apprentices gain offshore experience in pioneering link-up between 3sun and ODE

PUBLISHED: 09:55 30 April 2014

3sun apprentices Zak Brown, Angela Hawthorne andA;ex Armes who have just spent a week offshore in pioneering move aimed at enhancing their training. Steve Jones from ODE and Colin Drewitt from 3sun.  Picture: James Bass

3sun apprentices Zak Brown, Angela Hawthorne andA;ex Armes who have just spent a week offshore in pioneering move aimed at enhancing their training. Steve Jones from ODE and Colin Drewitt from 3sun. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

Two Great Yarmouth-based offshore companies are working together to offer apprentices their first taste of life offshore.

The arrangement between 3sun in Boundary Road and ODE in South Denes Road is significant because it has always been a major hurdle for apprentices to be allowed on to oil and gas platforms due to their lack of experience.

It has led to an initial trial with six 3sun apprentices each spending a week on a North Sea gas platform on a maintenance contract run by ODE.

Steve Jones, operations support contracts manager for ODE which runs operation and maintenance contracts on one manned and three unmanned platforms, said they had developed a good working relationship with 3sun which was their first port of call when they needed extra skilled staff for a contract offshore.

He said: “There is a shortage of experienced personnel offshore so it makes sense for us to help bring through the next generation of engineers.”

It was also a valuable opportunity for the young people to see if life offshore was for them.

“For some, it will be their first time in a helicopter and life on a platform is very different, not being able to go home and see friends and family,” he said.

He said it was understandable why companies had resisted the opportunity in the past to allow inexperienced staff on platforms as it was a potentially dangerous environment to work in with high pressure gas.

“You need to know the processes to go through to do things safely,” he said.

Outside the major oil and gas companies he did not know of any similar scheme to take apprentices offshore.

Colin Drewitt, apprentices’ co-ordinator at 3sun, which employs 23 apprentices and has developed a training academy to meet wider offshore skills needs, said: “The biggest problem we have is getting apprentices out on to platforms without any experience.

“Steve and I got together and we decided this scheme could be a win-win for everyone. I would like to thank ODE for taking this opportunity.”

He said with 3sun having 16 new apprentices arriving shortly from Lowestoft College it was hoped to build on the trial in the future.

Is your firm geared up for apprentices? Email

Search hundreds of local jobs at Jobs24


  • Absolutely wallywalnut. So often all you read about in the press is that there are no opportunities in this region for young people and that companies aren't interested in supporting them. Actually this is not the case, you just have to know what the opportunities are and who has them. 3Sun are an excellent example of a company trying to encourage young people. The main problem is that the majority of schools have no idea about the opportunities their students could be tapping into. I've had experience of trying to make inroads with schools to offer them opportunities to learn more about this and make links with companies and it really is hit and miss as to the response you get. Some are really proactive and keen to engage but unfortunately others either can't be bothered or find excuses because it might not fit into an Ofsted box so they put it on in the 'too difficult' bracket. This is such a shame because it is their students who are missing out.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • This is a good story - investment in our youth and the future of the town - well done all concerned.

    Report this comment


    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Management Jobs

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


A global boom in the use of smart meters is set to fuel the growth of a pioneering East Anglian engineering company after it struck a major production deal with a leading Indian manufacturer.

I’ve seen and heard quite a lot over the years, so it takes quite a bit to shock me.

Green 100


Enjoy the Green 100
digital edition


Meet the Team

Mark Shields

Business Editor


Chris Hill

Agricultural and Farming Editor


Business Most Read


Norfolk Future 50 EDP Business Awards Green 100

Business Most Commented