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Highlights from my travels – Maureen Morgan

In the third of our 'Highlights from my travels' series, Maureen Morgan tells us about her first experience offshore in the North Sea.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Sparrows

I'm Maureen Morgan, 33, and I joined Sparrows in 2017 as an apprentice mechanic. I'm usually based in the mechanical workshop at the site in Aberdeen.

What first interested you in your job and how did you get in to it?

I have always had an interest in learning how things work and being able to repair them. I did a VRQ in Motor Vehicle and a PEO SVQ, NC and HNC in Mechanical Engineering at college before applying for the apprenticeship with Sparrows. I had heard they were a good company and was interested in the apprenticeship route.

Tell us more about your trip?

I spent three weeks on the Captain WPP where I was working with crew, under supervision, to replace a winch, carry out a rope change out, and replace and repair the brakes on the main winch.

What was a typical day like?

We had to be on shift for a 6.30am start, but we had to wait to make sure the proper permits were in place before we could start the job. We would then have a toolbox talk before working on the tasks for the day. We would usually finish around 6.30pm then go for our evening meal together. The food was really good! At night we would usually watch films together or play computer games before going to bed.

What was different about being offshore?

The commute by helicopter was certainly different! The flight only took 25 minutes and I didn't mind being on the chopper. The facilities were nice, the Captain WPP is one of the more modern assets in the North Sea. At points during the trip I had to share my cabin with another female, which didn't bother me. You spend a lot more time with your team, but the group I was out with were sociable and this made the trip enjoyable and we had a good morale.

Was there anything about being offshore which surprised you?

I think the first time I realised just how much water we were surrounded by was surprising. You realise how big the ocean is and I enjoyed watching the sunrises in the morning.

What did you enjoy most about the trip?

I enjoyed the whole experience! I would like to thank Neil Coglan and Peter Thomas for keeping me right and sharing their knowledge with me during the trip, it was a really good learning experience.

What was most challenging?

It was a lot colder than the workshop usually is. You don't appreciate how open to the elements you are until you get out there.

What was the stand out moment from your trip?

I got the chance to stand in the crane cab with the operator as he unloaded the boat at one point, which was really cool to see! I loved it so much that I've since completed my stage 1 Crane Operator training and I'm aiming to become Sparrows' first female operator/maintainer which will allow me to combine both skills.

What did you find most valuable about your trip?

I loved the whole thing and will hopefully get back out to the Captain WPP at some point again in the future - ideally as a resident!

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