Entry Level Offshore Jobs - Where Do You Start?

When people talk or write about entry level offshore jobs in the oil and gas industry, they are usually talking about roustabouts or roughnecks. While the roustabout is the route many take to get onto an offshore oil rig, there are other jobs such as catering, administration, the trades like welding, painting, pipe fitting etc. which can also open the door for you to enter this very lucrative domain.
Let's start with catering as one very important category of entry level offshore jobs. Not only does an army move on its stomach but people finishing their 12 hour shift on an oil rig, want to eat a good meal, before they go to sleep.
Starting with housekeeping staff and moving up the jobs are stewards, galley hands, night bakers, assistant cooks, head cooks, chefs and end with camp boss. There are lots of job openings for both the experienced and the inexperienced, particularly as over the next ten years, half of all the people currently working in the oil industry are due to retire. That's a lot of jobs to be filled!
Typically, the catering and housekeeping services on offshore rigs are contracted out and dealt with by food services or catering organisations. This means they handle the procurement of supplies and the production of the meals and snacks, as well as the special foods involved with the various holidays. They will also deal with the upkeep and cleaning of the dining rooms, the kitchen, the sleeping quarters, as well as the common and recreational areas.
While the camp boss, the chefs, the cooks and the assistant cooks are not entry level jobs, galley hands, general housekeeping staff and stewards can be the way to get your foot in the door. People with onshore experience in hotels, restaurants or industrial facilities will stand a better chance than the totally inexperienced but it's not uncommon for a person without experience offshore to come in doing a housekeeping job and move into a roustabout's position and move up the ladder from that. Meanwhile wages for janitorial or cleaning jobs offshore are not to be sneezed at being in the mid $40,000- mid $50,000!
The job of Steward /Stewardess is a combination of the galley hand and housekeeping. Sometimes they are separate jobs, sometimes they are rolled into one such as on smaller rigs. At mid $40K to mid $50k, they still make better wages than for a similar job on land.
Having had a reasonable length of experience as a busboy or dishwasher in a restaurant or hotel could give you the opportunity to become a galley hand on an offshore rig. From there, this job can lead to moving up the ladder to night cook and onto head cook or chef. Many people have started at the bottom and worked their way up but you could do worse than by doing it offshore at a salary of mid $40,000- mid $50,000!
One of the fastest ways to get one of these jobs is to use an employment agency that specialises in getting people offshore jobs. They will help you write a proper resume to apply for catering jobs offshore. Be aware that legitimate agencies should be able to give you references from people they've gotten jobs for and they shouldn't promise they'll definitely get you a job but should be happy the guarantee you'll be satisfied with what they do for you.
If this article has whetted your appetite for information about offshore and onshore oil and gas industry jobs, be sure to look for the special offer in our resource box below.
Monika Nolte is a freelance writer, researcher and marketer. Oil and Gas Resource Kit now available at 58% off the listed price. Entry Level Offshore Oil Jobs

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