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Ben, acquiring the skills of tomorrow - today

Total’s lubricants plant based in Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire has established strong links with local schools and colleges. A new apprentice scheme is strengthening Total’s commitment to provide training for young people, giving them the skills they need for a career in the oil and gas industry. Ben Roper, a young mechanical engineering student, was the first to join this new scheme in August 2015.

Strengthening local relationships

Ben was, selected through approaches to colleges in the area to identify suitable candidates. “Undertaking a four-year apprenticeship in mechanical engineering is really helping me to gain experience. Through a long-term development plan, I am mentored in both the managerial and operational aspects of the work.” Ben who attends Selby college each week to complete his vocational qualifications says, “Already I am involved practically in the work. The different modules give me an insight into all aspects of mechanical engineering. I shadow my supervisors to learn what’s involved, but already I am able to undertake some tasks on my own.”

Embodying fresh ideas

Managed as part of the workforce, the apprentice scheme is designed not only to provide work experience, however. Total recognises that while trainees may initially not have extensive knowledge of the workplace, such schemes are a way to attract talented new recruits to the company. These young people embody fresh ideas and perspectives, new ways of looking at things and contribute to how we do business better. This helps to ensure how we will have the right skills in the company in the future, something that is essential to develop a growing business. The scheme is set to expand through the recruitment of further apprentices.

Invaluable knowledge for the future

Ben appreciates, “There is a lot to learn but this apprenticeship provides great on site experience for me. That’s invaluable at this stage of my career and gives me the chance to understand company procedures and learn new skills in a safe environment. I will also have the opportunity to visit other Total plants to understand how they undertake mechanical engineering. That will be interesting. Through the experience I’ve gained – and looking ahead – I can see Total is a company where I could develop a long career. I wanted to be part of an organisation which offers that opportunity, and I look forward to contributing my own part in how the future of energy is developed.” Ben is proceeding well with his apprenticeship and, in addition to performing plan preventative maintenance tasks around site independently, he is also now involved from start to finish in upgrade projects across site and assisting the Engineering Manager in CAPEX meetings and control of contactors.

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"I can see Total is a company where I could develop a long career."

Short resume


2015 – present

Mechanical engineering apprentice, Total Lubricants UK