Looking to start, or progress, a career in the oil industry? Careers in oil are many and varied, and it’s worth spending a little time figuring out what type of skills each role requires.

Contrary to what many people think, the majority of oil careers are actually based onshore. Many are based in the oil-centric areas of Aberdeen and the East of England, but roles are often to be found across the UK and even worldwide. Roles offer a diverse range of options, often with opportunities to travel.

Wide variety of careers available


Oil specific roles within engineering and other technical areas make up a large proportion of the opportunities within the oil industry, but there is also a wide variety of other careers available, from accountants, lawyers, and office staff to drivers and plumbers. Many employees join the industry after years in other sectors, though there are plenty of opportunities for graduates and school leavers too. Most in demand are people with science and engineering qualifications; even for senior management roles, a scientific or engineering background would be advantageous.

For entry level to management roles, candidates would be expected to have several years' relevant experience; for example, those wanting to enter into Supply Chain Management would be expected to have experience as buyers, as well as possibly a relevant industry qualification such as Membership of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. Production Supervisors would be expected to have relevant experience as an offshore technician as well as demonstrable supervisory skills.

Additional relevant qualifications needed for some roles


Oil jobs will often require additional qualifications, so applicants need to be prepared to undertake these. For example, for offshore work, applicants need to have done the Minimum Industry Safety Training course and Basic Offshore Safety and Induction & Emergency Training certificate (these are often self-sponsored and need to be completed for any offshore role).

Other roles may require job-specific qualifications and training, for example a willingness to work towards a Chartered Engineer qualification. For recent school leavers, Upstream Modern Apprenticeships give opportunities for motivated employees to undertake a four year apprenticeship in which two years are spent gaining a relevant qualification and then two years actually working in industry gaining on the job experience.

The oil industry offers a wide range of training and professional development, making it a good choice for ambitious candidates who wish to progress in their career. A typical career path for an ambitious engineer within the oil industry might start out of school or further education with an apprenticeship, which would lead to relevant basic qualifications, or alternatively entry into the industry post an engineering related HND or degree.

Over time, the engineer would be expected to gain promotion to Senior and then Principal Engineer, and ultimately to Manager, having undertaken further professional qualifications. A typical salary for a qualified Chartered Engineer would be in excess of £45k a year.

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