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Powering the skill sets of future generations
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The Scottish Area Gas Evacuation (SAGE) system, located at St Fergus, north of Aberdeen, is an integrated gas transportation and processing system which helps ensure an ongoing, critical energy supply to the country. With throughput of around 465 million cubic feet of gas per day, the gas processed at SAGE feeds into the UK’s National Transmission System, providing a significant proportion of the UK’s total gas supply.

But did you know that SAGE not only helps power our homes, hospitals and other crucial services, it’s also powering the skill sets of future generations of apprentices?

“Wood manages the day-to-day operation of SAGE as part of an evergreen contract with Ancala Midstream”, explains David Gibson, Operations Manager. “We were awarded Duty Holder in 2017 and have trained a number of apprentices in that time, but SAGE’s history of apprenticeships dates back more than 25 years. In fact, one of our Process Technicians started as an apprentice twenty years ago and has spent his entire career here where he plays a key role in our operations team. This is not uncommon for SAGE; the team generally have long service and really care about the site.”

With technical expertise spanning disciplines such as Process, Mechanical, Instrumentation, Metering and Electrical, SAGE provides a fantastic learning environment for apprentices to dedicate themselves to mastering a particular trade. And with some employees having worked at the site for more than 25 years, there is a wealth of knowledge and experience to tap into.

“Mentoring plays a significant part in developing our apprentices,” continues David. “The team take a real pride in passing on knowledge and skills to the next generation who will look after the site.”

Modern apprentices usually spend the first two years of their apprenticeship training at college followed by two years at site. The on-the-job training is absolutely crucial to their development and allows the apprentices to put their college learnings into real-life practice. “When you combine this with the support and advice from mentors and other field experts, the training at SAGE truly gives our apprentices a solid foundation for the future,” explains David.

Once apprentices have finished their four years, they will spend a further two years as a Performance Improver where they can work with more independence and responsibility before becoming a full, well-rounded technician.

One Wood apprentice currently completing their first year at site is Callum Flynn, who is training to be an Instrument Technician and looking to progress to a Performance Improver.

“It’s wonderful to see our apprentices’ confidence soar during their time at site and it’s great to know the difference that Wood, Ancala Midstream and SAGE are achieving together in developing apprentices,” says David. “SAGE not only plays a critical role in securing our nation’s energy supply, but it’s also a critical part of Wood’s apprenticeship programme and ensuring we have the right technical skills in place for future generations to come.”

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