Roustabout jobs are entry-level jobs on oil rigs. On most oil rigs, you work 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 2 to 3 weeks straight. Working as a roastabout can be tiring and dirty – you do everything from cleaning and painting oil rigs to mixing drilling mud and even moving supplies and equipment around oil rigs. On the other hand, almost everyone who matters on an oil rig started out as a blacksmith, so you have no right to complain.
For English-speaking workers, there are three main places that employ people for roastabout work – Canada, the US and the UK. Alberta in Canada is still very short of people, so it is the easiest to be hired. As long as you’re strong enough and have the right attitude, there are plenty of companies that will pay for any course or certificate you need.
It’s also fairly easy to get offshore dockworker jobs in the US right now, especially on the Gulf Coast. In some places, it’s as easy as showing up at a temp agency. As in Canada, many companies desperately need employees and are willing to pay for any training and certification required. As a rough guide, before you set foot on an oil rig, your employer will send you to get an offshore medical certificate, an offshore survival certificate, and a helicopter underwater escape training certificate. This may be followed by an introductory course of 2 or 3 weeks introducing your responsibilities on an oil rig.
The situation is even more difficult for British residents. Most employers will expect you to show your BOSIET Offshore Survival Training Certificate, Offshore Medical Certificate and what the British call a GreenHand course. All told, getting all of these could set you back £3,500, depending on where you study them, and won’t guarantee you a job. The offshore scene there is surprisingly small – you really need to know the right people. Most of the jobs are not in Aberdeen, so if you live elsewhere, you really don’t stand a chance at all. Veterans are the easiest way for unconnected new hires to break in. British servicemen have a skills conversion course that can help them land offshore oil jobs. Quite frankly, UK residents who want to get into the oil industry are better off looking for work in Alberta or the US Gulf Coast states.
When you apply for roastabout jobs, remember to highlight work experience that involves manual and mechanical work. If you have any survival training or things like BOSIET or HUET certificates please highlight those too. Remember that roastabouts do a lot of manual labor, so don’t brag about your college degree or some other high-tech skill – employers may reject you because you are overqualified. Some companies now want you to prove that you have completed high school. No matter who you work for, drug testing will be done frequently, especially in the event of any accident.
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