Alexander Koch Gotthardsen is 19 years old, from Fanø and is currently training to become a blacksmith. Although he appears to be an ordinary guy on the outside he is making history by being the first offshore apprentice ever. “Last winter, I was asked if I would like to go offshore. I said yes even though I knew very little about it. I only knew that there were some platforms where they were extracting oil. It was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. Not everybody gets the chance.”
The safety on the North Sea’s installations is prioritized higher than anything else. Therefore, everybody who is going offshore must go through a 3-day safety course. “You take a basic course in firefighting and then they take you to a large swimming pool where you are launched into the water to simulate a helicopter crash. It was very exciting and fun.” The safety in the industry continues when you get on theplatform. “When you are offshore, you don’t just start working if not everybody is in on what we are supposed to do, and you never work by yourself. Out there, you are not allowed to hurry because mistakes then occur,” he says.
When Alexander is asked what he likes the most about being offshore, he replies quickly: “It is probably the view. You stand on some metal poles in the middle of nowhere and the only thing you can see are some other platforms, and it is probably what I like the most”. When asked if there is anything different about working in the North Sea compared to what he has previously experienced, the conversation quickly shifts to the special bond among colleagues where nobody looks down on anyone and where the companionship across different fields of expertise is obvious. “But out there (on the North Sea, Ed.), we all work together. We are all friends out there no matter who you are. There is a really good working environment out there”, says Alexander, who graduates in the summer of 2020. •
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By Ulla Lena & Sune Krøger