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Topic Title: Career change from IT... Distance learning HNC or CG level3
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Created On: 05 July 2012 11:37 PM
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 05 July 2012 11:37 PM
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Joined: 05 July 2012


I'm currently toying with a career change (32yrs old) with the aim of getting offshore and could do with some advice/pointers.

My background is IT, I have a computer science degree and have been working full time in software development for 10 years, I have totally enjoyed my time doing this and have work for some big companies. Over the past year or so I have really wanted to have a career change and want to get into the oil and gas game, I really enjoy working with my hands, have a mechanical mindset and enjoy working outside/not at a desk . I'm interested in the instrument and control/production side of things and I feel this might go well with my IT background.

I've been looking into distance learning courses offered by Teesside COLU and Petroleum Open Learning (POL). Given that I'm looking to focus on the instrument side/production and living in Teesside it seems to make sense to do a course through Teesside COLU. Does anyone have any experience of this course? They offer a HNC/HND which would suit my situation the best?

However as my aim is to work offshore would an OPITO approved POL course put me in a better situation? Looking at the POL courses they don't offer an instrumentation control course and therefore the other option would be to do a petroleum engineering to level 3 city and guilds.

Would I get offshore with just qualifications? say HNC and offshore survival etc

My plan of attack is:
Enrole and complete course whether that's COLU or POL
Try and get a job locally as an Instrument tech
Obtain offshore tickets
Try and get and offshore position

I know there is a lot of question s there, but any advice would be much appreciated.
 06 July 2012 11:58 AM
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The HNC is a good 'step up' from the city & guilds courses, and may seem somewhat alien to you if you don't hail from an electrical/mechanical background already. Remember it's a 'Higher' National Certificate and don't think it's entirely designed for as an entry-type course; that's not to say that some people havn't taken the HNC from other backgrounds.

Considering you're wanting to do something with your hands, the more vocational option of a City & Guilds might be the most appropriate to you; perhaps consider finding employment within the industry, then looking at courses to complement your on-site learning; the last thing you want to do is to start a course when you're not working in the industry, otherwise you won't be able to practically understand the methods you're learning in the classroom.

Many courses will teach you the foundational knowledge but, as with programming, you don't know your way around the 'bugs' of a system without actually turning the computer on.

Good luck with everything,

Sam Foster
 06 July 2012 12:57 PM
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Thank you for the reply. There is some really good advice there.

Both courses (colu/POL) are distance learning so there will be little if any practical hands on work, I know what you are saying. The best way to apply the theory is it get your hands dirty.

I have heard of stories where petrochemical companies have taken on people with little or no previous experience. but these opportunities seem to be few and far between.

I appreciate that doing a HNC is not a walk in the park and a lot of time and effort has to be put in, I'm just not sure if I'd be in a better situation by doing a GC OPITO approved course?

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