Petans has provided professional safety and survival training for the offshore energy sector both in the UK and worldwide for nearly 50 years.

Based in East Anglia, Petans delivers accredited training to the requirements of OPITO, MCA, HSE, GWO and City & Guilds.

It also provides specific training to the wider energy sector and beyond, including local authority fire and rescue services, nuclear power stations, MOD and industrial fire teams throughout the UK.

Gas was first discovered in the North Sea in 1965 – in the West Sole Field off the coast of East Anglia – with production starting the following year. Commercial oil production began from the Argyl Field, in the central North Sea, in 1975.

This new and rapidly growing industry demonstrated that safety training would be key to its success – and late in 1975, Petans was established as a charity known as the Petroleum Training Association (North Sea).

“The purpose at the beginning is still very much at the core of our charitable purpose today; to provide safety training for those working offshore,” said Andie Marshall, business manager.

In 1984, the organisation became incorporated and changed its name to Petans. Over the years, it has adapted to reflect the changes in the offshore energy sector and the associated training needs.

Originally the scope was to support the petroleum industry with its training needs – today it welcomes and trains delegates from all areas of the energy sector including maritime, renewables and nuclear power.

Eastern Daily Press: Andie Marshall, business manager at PetansAndie Marshall, business manager at Petans (Image: Petans)
“As a registered charity, we have an ethos of reinvestment into our training centres and offer market-leading training facilities to our clients and delegates,” said Andie.

“In recent years we have introduced a second dual firefighting module and various firefighting props which allow both the traditional kerosene burn and the burning of gas which is cleaner.”

Although a charity, Petans is still a limited business and operates in the same commercial and competitive world as other training providers – but instead of having to satisfy shareholders, it answers to a board of charitable trustees.

“Our trustees are a valued part of our organisation, and we welcome their support and challenge in ensuring that we remain an effective and efficient member of the energy sector supply chain,” said Andie.

“Our existing board have varied backgrounds but all of them bring skills and experience that we can tap into to support Petans in progressing and achieving its business objectives, whilst ensuring that we apply the appropriate governance and use the generated funds wisely.”

Being a trustee at Petans is an opportunity to be involved in a business that has been successfully delivering survival and emergency response training for over 40 years and is valued by the industries that it serves.

Eastern Daily Press: Mark Goodall has been a Petans trustee since 2005 and chair for the last 10 yearsMark Goodall has been a Petans trustee since 2005 and chair for the last 10 years (Image: Steve Maddams)
Mark Goodall has been a trustee since 2005 and chair for the last 10 years.

He has previously served as non-exec director and non-exec chairman of the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR).

“My initial attraction to being a trustee was being able to give something back to the industry that I worked in,” he said. “As the energy sector has broadened, Petans has embraced and accommodated such change in the expansion of courses offered and investment in appropriate facilities and equipment.

“In my time I have had the privilege of working with several other trustees, all of whom, then and now, selflessly contribute with their own unique set of skills, knowledge and experience to ensure the charity delivers the highest standards and customer experience.

“I trust that there will continue to be aspiring individuals building their careers, who will perhaps wish to give something back and take the opportunity of becoming a trustee.”

Eastern Daily Press: EEEGR founder John Best has been a Petans trustee since 2002EEEGR founder John Best has been a Petans trustee since 2002 (Image: TMS Media)
John Best – a Petans trustee since 2002 – has considerable industry experience, most notably founding EEEGR and becoming its first chief executive.

“Within the industry the phrase ‘energy transition’ is one that is heard much more frequently as we move towards a lower carbon economy,” said John. “However, the need for secure and reliable energy on the journey to decarbonisation remains the consistent demand – as do the skilled and experienced people who deliver this to our businesses and communities.

“I am proud of the high-quality and effective training provided to our local, regional and national industry by the experienced and capable staff who work tirelessly in delivering this common goal, keeping people safe.”

Eastern Daily Press: Elliot Symonds joined the Petans board of trustees in 2022Elliot Symonds joined the Petans board of trustees in 2022 (Image: Jarrold Training)
Elliot Symonds is head of learning and development at Jarrold Training – part of Jarrolds – and joined the Petans board of trustees in 2022.

“I applied for the role of trustee as I had experience of the people of Petans and have always been attracted to the offshore industry although I had never worked directly in it,” Elliot explained.

“The opportunity to support a significant local charity also appealed to me as I wanted to give time and expertise to the region I call home.

“It also exposed me to an entirely different kind of business compared to my professional past which had all been fast-moving consumer goods, but it was also aligned to my recent career in adult education.”

For more information on becoming a Petans trustee, please contact Andie Marshall at or on 01603 891255.