Ryan Fernando

When I was at school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had okay grades but did not have an interest in the university route, so my part-time job at McDonalds became full-time. Following just 6 months of working there, I was quickly promoted to shift manager. Although I enjoyed the responsibility and management, I quite quickly decided that I wanted to pursue a career that utilised my practical skills. I joined Aker Solutions’ Technical Apprenticeship Scheme as an electronic apprentice in 2013.

From day one I had a keen and positive attitude, worked hard and took every opportunity that came my way.

This led to my first major success at the end of my first year where I won Best Electronic Apprentice and Apprentice of the Year ahead of 150 other apprentices at the Tullos Training Annual Awards. This was a great achievement for me, which reinforced to me that hard work and a positive attitude pays off.

Following this success, I began leading a team to drive improvement initiatives that contributed to tangible savings of £70,000 annually, as well as taking on leadership responsibility by mentoring and training new apprentices entering the team.

Alongside my technical role I believe it is important to ensure a sustainable future for the industry which is why I enjoy doing my best to inspire and encourage the next generation. I have been actively involved with school engagements, industry events and career fairs sharing my story to encourage the next generation to show an interest in the world of oil and gas and to show the countless opportunities an apprenticeship route can offer. Something I never knew when I was at school.

During my apprenticeship I also took on the lead of our early careers network in Aberdeen, which targets theg fun. Following my success in Aberdeen, I now lead the network globally which has over 1500 members.

Taking on all these additional responsibilities, led to me being nominated for industry awards by my company where I won Oil & Gas UK’s Apprentice of the Year and Subsea UK’s Emerging Young Talent Award. The two biggest highlights of my career so far.

Going through my apprenticeship helped link the practical work with my education, teaching me that qualifications are also important for personal development. I have now completed my apprenticeship and achieved an HNC and SVQ Level 3. Now I am studying part-time towards a BSc in Electronic and Electrical Engineering (he who said university was never for him!). The skills I have learned through my apprenticeship are invaluable and have given me a foundation to my career. I have realised that you don’t need to have it all planned out from school or have amazing grades. But having a good attitude, working hard and grasping opportunities can lead to success. I am currently working as an electrical technician with ambitions to move into management.