Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Candidate Interview: Life on An Oil Rig

BBL Manpower are constantly looking for new opportunities to improve our services and understand both our clients and candidates better. Which is why we invite you to read a brand new interview with one of our candidates, Mr. Arkadiusz who participates in regular rotations on offshore pipes.

In this candid interview, Mr. Arkadiusz tells us how obtain to the required certificates that allow you to work on offshore platforms and provides some invaluable tips on how to make the most out of your time offshore.

Was it always your ambition to work on drilling platforms?
At the beginning of my career I never even thought about taking up a job on an oil rig, because this vision seemed to be almost impossible, but over the years the knowledge and experience I gained to work in the Oil and Gas sector began to slowly convince such a possibility.

After speaking with BBL Manpower and learning that my experience and positive feedback from my previous employers would make me eligible to work on an oil rig, I sought to find out more. BBL mentioned that I would have the opportunity to further my professional development, and of course increase my salary. Both factors played a huge part in why I chose to become an offshore worker.

What certificates are required by employers to work on an oil rig?
Before I began work, BBL made it clear what trade specific manufacturing certificates I needed and exactly what the requirements are for those wishing to begin a career on an oil rig.

The offshore licences and certificates needed for this job, BOSIET (Basic Offshore Safety Induction Emergency Training) & HUET (Helicopter Underwater Emergency Training) were funded by myself. In order to see the long term benefits of this career choice and develop professionally, I had to personally invest in myself and I would strongly urge others to do the same.

BBL organised the course and testing for me in a training centre in Rotterdam, Holland and as sign of fantastic organisation they also arranged my accommodation and transport while I was in Holland.

What is life like working on an oil rig?
Work on the platform differs very little from work in the yard or in a refinery as we are dealing with very similar technical issues. The main difference to working on a normal job site compared to working offshore is the heavy emphasis on safety. There is no question about the so called combinations and partisans. Here everything has its place and time, suitable tools ect.

Work on the platform usually runs on a specific rhythm. I.e. Usually you work around 12 hours a day with regular breaks for coffee and lunch.  During the workers time off, they are free to use the gym & TV facilities, and the free wireless internet to stay in touch with families and loved ones.

You are almost made to feel like you are on a luxury cruise liner instead of working on a platform. In general you feel really well looked after and above all, safe.

How do you want to expand your skills further? What are your plans for the future?
I would like to continue to expand my skills by gaining new technical knowledge and experience from the different offshore courses available. In the near future I have planned to complete the T&T (Torque & Tensioning) course, which BBL have assisted me in arranging this.

What is your typical work rotation?
I am currently working in rotation of two weeks on and two weeks off. Personally, I think that that’s a well-balanced rotation. I’m not away from home and my family for too long and when I am working the time seems to pass fairly quickly.

When I first received the job on the platform and the start date, my Wife was slightly worried because the platform was in the middle of the sea. However after a moment of concern, she was quite glad as this meant a better job with much more opportunity for us.

This type of work will always arouse mixed feelings because of the security, but in this day and age what job is 100% safe? It is my belief that we as people are the ones that create safety in the work place, not the other way around.

What are your top tips for people who would like to work on an oil rig?
For all those who would like to work on these platforms, the only advice I can give from my own experience is to seriously question whether being on the open sea, isolated with a lack of physical contact with your loved ones is something you can deal with. This is crucially important as you can be a highly skilled and professional worker but the specifics of this profession may indeed put you off. In short this is not a job for everyone.  Also being out in the North Sea you will need to be prepared for frequent sea storms and weather fluctuations. I mention these things as it is a crucial element of the job and can present its own challenges from person to person.  Here psychology plays an important role, each of us all perceive things differently, so what may seem normal to me may not to you. Good physical and mental health is also a massive advantage.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Staying Safe: The VCA Certificate

At BBL Manpower, it is our duty to serve our clients the best and highest skilled candidates for their projects, that is a given. However it is also our duty to ensure the safety and protection of our candidates too, which is why we ensure that all of our workers are equipped with a VCA certificate before sending them off to any job.

How Can BBL Help?
BBL recognise the importance of VCA. In fact it is a mandatory requirement with the majority of our clients. Therefore we actively assist our operatives with the acquisition of VCA via a large network of accredited training organisations pre certifying them to improve their chances of finding long term work

So What Is The VCA Certificate?
VCA stands for (in Dutch) Safety, Health and Environment Check-list for Contractors, but it is much more than that. VCA is a versatile and complete programme whereby service-supplying companies may be tested in a structured and objective manner, and certified for their VGM administration system

VCA stands for VGM Check-list Contractors (VGM = Safety, Health and Environment). The check-list is an extensive questionnaire that is used as an investigation and screening system for contractors who carry out work for others.

The VCA-certificate is a useful means of showing that once both an individual and a company meets the standard requirements on a large number of points regarding safety, health and environment. This ensures that the customer and contractor

Which activities/trades does the VCA apply to?
The VCA certificate is intended for individuals and companies that carry out work with a raised level of risk from the view point of the employer. The work covers a wide variety of disciplines and often takes place in factories, installations and project locations. Some examples of the trades that the VCA is intended for include: Mechanical engineering, maintenance work, construction, electro technical and process control, architectural work, isolation, industrial scaffolding, industrial cleaning, vertical/horizontal transport, inspection work and more.

The Benefits:
For most employers in Holland and Benelux countries VCA is often a mandatory requirement in order for workers or contractors to step foot on site.

Contractors have no longer to be concerned with all sorts of safety requirements, investigations and systems thought up in the past by various employers, that could lead to a great deal of double work, also and in particular regarding training and instruction. One can now depend on just one check-list.
do not have to perform all sorts of steps to ensure that safety, health and environment are protected. That has already been taken care of beforehand. From the usefulness of the certificate, the necessity of the possessing the certificate is born. Because of the convenience, customers simply require the possession of the VCA certificate as a condition for those who wish to carry out work for them.
The VCA is a widely recognised, uniform check-list that has replaced a large diversity of safety check-lists and methods.

Since VCA is applied under formal accreditation rules, employers and employees are ensured of an honest, independent, professional evaluation by a certificate organisation (CI). The CI is under the supervision of the Raad voor Accreditatie (the Netherlands), Belcert (Belgium) or TgA (Germany).

The VCA-certification process has similarities to the ISO 9000-systems and -audits. VCA is also supportive of the management systems and audits, such as ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. By application of the VCA certification process, the VGM control system of the contractor can interface smoothly with the VGM system of the employer

How Can You Get One?
To get your VCA certificate, you must first enrol for one of their online course packages or VCA exams. You can find further information on course availability, prices and more on this link here: http://www.vcadirect.com/vca-course/how-to-enrol/

After successful completion of the VCA exam you will receive your personal VCA certificate. With this certificate you can prove that you possess sufficient knowledge to carry out your work safely.

Friday, 20 March 2015

BBL Manpower Announces Official Partnership with Offshore News Magazine

BBL Manpower are proud to announce its official media partnership with Offshore News Magazine. Offshore news will provide exclusive coverage of the large scale projects BBL Manpower will be providing solutions for.  In return Offshore News magazine will receive status and branding as an official media partner of BBL and direct promotion of Offshore News Magazine literature amongst its vast network of industry contacts. The partnership will be officially launched at the Offshore NL 2015 show on 24th and 25th March 2015 where Offshore News will be exhibiting.

John Hopwood, BBL Manpower’s Operations Director commented on the recent partnership saying “We are extremely excited to be working with Offshore News, and build foundations to expand our networks and ultimately reach new clients and candidates”.  Offshore News CEO, Dennis Schouwenaar added “I am excited about the partnership between BBL Manpower and Offshore News. We look forward to sharing ideas, networks and working on new projects together. We will actively promote and introduce BBL Manpower as an International Partner within our Oil and Gas network in the Netherlands.”

So who are BBL Manpower?
BBL Manpower are an established recruitment business with over 30 years’ experience providing innovative, cost effective recruitment solutions to global leaders in the Oil & Gas, Marine, Engineering and Construction industries.

BBL reduces clients costs for manpower by providing an all-inclusive service (total recruitment solution) which as well as focusing on quality also delivers as standard a huge number of value added benefits inclusive of our highly competitive hourly rates. These benefits include international flights, accommodation, local transport, unrivalled country support, pre-testing and certification. Some of the clients BBL has placed candidates include Damen, Allseas and Keppel Verolme to name a few.

 For more information, why not check out their website www.bblmanpower.com or follow them on LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company/bbl-manpower 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Budget For 2015 Gives North Sea £1.3 Billion Boost

In more recent news, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has delivered his 2015 budget to the public and has allocated a generous £1.3 Billion boost to the North Sea. News of this allocation has spread like wildfire and has been welcomed with open arms across the sector.

Upon delivering his budget speech, the chancellor mentioned that “Falling oil prices mean good news for families across the UK but it comes with its challenges for thousands whose jobs depend on the North Sea Thanks to the field allowances already introduced we seen a record of £15 Billion of capital investment last year in the North Sea. Fall in oil prices poses a pressing danger to the future of our North Sea industry unless we take bold and immediate action.”

The 4 key announcements expected to give the North Sea Industry a substantial enhancement were:

1st - A single, simple and generous tax allowance to stimulate investment at all stages of the industry from the 1st of April.
2nd - The government will invest in new seismic surveys in under explored areas of the UK continental shelf.
3rd - From next year the Petroleum Revenue tax will be cut from 50% to 35% to support continued production in older fields.
4th - With immediate effect the Supplementary Charge will be cut from 30% to 20% and back dated to the beginning of January 2015.

The Chancellor concluded: “The measures announced amount to £1.3 Billion of support for our vital North Sea industry and gives an expected boost of 15% to North Sea Production by end of the decade.

What are your thoughts on this recent development? Have your say here....

Monday, 16 March 2015

Say Goodbye To The Middleman

You will not need to go far to read about the doom and gloom surrounding the energy industry amidst plummeting oil prices. These radical changes have presented challenges in many areas across the industry, but one of the most prominent seems to be “manpower”.  

After speaking with several companies we identified that a key challenge for oil & gas majors’ right down to small fabrication shops, was sourcing manpower at rates that reflect the sudden reduction in Oil prices. The plunge in oil prices have quite literally meant that labour rates have had to decrease from anything from 20-40%.

So where does that leave you?

Drastic reductions in labour rates can leave you in a situation where your manpower needs are not being met due to subcontracting companies not being able to supply quality skilled workers at rates they can profit on. In turn this can leave you with a shortage of men and as a direct result, slow down the overall production and delivery of your project.

Our solution:

At BBL Manpower we understand what this means for you and feel that it is our duty to provide a service that reflects your needs.

Typically we would supply skilled workers to companies who would then supply them to you. This process has allowed sub-contractors to increase rates through added commission. We would now like to say goodbye to this “middle man” way of thinking and liaise directly with YOU. By dealing with us directly we can provide cost effective manpower solutions at a price that reflects current trends in the market and offer you a bottom line labour rate that cuts out the added costs of sub-contractor commissions. Our hands on approach to recruitment also allows us to alleviate the burden of employment administration allowing you to focus time into the execution and delivery of your project.

So if you have manpower requirement you would like to discuss in finer detail or you would like a copy of our brochure, why not give us a call on 0208 514 8866 or email us on info@bblmanpower.com

BBL Attends “Pioneering Spirit” Official Inauguration Ceremony

On the 27th, 28th February and 1st March, Allseas, introduced and welcomed employees, clients and suppliers to the official inauguration ceremony of the “Pioneering Spirit”. Directors John Mocock & John Hopwood were privileged enough to be invited to represent BBL Manpower on the 3rd day of the celebration, along with a number of Allseas key suppliers.

The VIP celebration welcomed over 1200 guests over the 3 days and was chaired by entrepreneur Edward Heerema, President of the Allseas Group

Pioneering Spirit StageThe evening began with a 360 degree tour of the gargantuan vessel on a private cruise liner before docking up at the Pioneering Spirit. Upon entering the vessel, Edward Heerema personally welcomed all of his guests at the entrance. Whilst aboard, guests were given an opportunity to mingle and absorb the lavish surroundings before being led to the auditorium for a welcoming speech by Edward Heerema.

During the speech, Mr Heerema expressed what drove him to develop this remarkable vessel which had been his vision for over 20 years in the making. Speaking about the powerful words his late father, Pieter Schelte Heerema, had installed in him from a very young age that “Daring, Vision & Skill” and being able to “think outside the box” are the basis of success. Echoing his Father’s words to “never copy what your competition is doing, always look to do it better”, Edward then moved on to show his appreciation for the hard work and importance of Allseas employees and suppliers, and mentioned that without them the realisation of the vessel would not be possible. Our Directors were humbled by the appreciation shown by Allseas, and stated “This event has left us extremely motivated and even more enthusiastic to push the boundaries and to continuously innovate and improve within our own business of providing the best manpower solutions for our clients”.

The night was concluded with a stunning drinks reception, surreal entertainment and a culinary experience which wouldn't have been out of place in a Michelin star restaurant. We were astounded by the level of detail shown during the celebration from the exquisite dinner and drinks, right down to the first class entertainment, it was very clear that Allseas’ pioneering spirit was amongst us all and that we were all “at the heart of the matter”.

Friday, 13 March 2015

BBL Manpower Invited to Allseas "Pioneering Spirit" Inauguration Ceremony

It is with much excitement that BBL Manpower can announce its official invitation to the celebratory Inauguration of “Pioneering Spirit” on Sunday 1 March 2015 at Second Maasvlakte in Rotterdam.

The celebrations will consist of an exclusive drinks reception for Allseas employees and suppliers and a private tour of the “Pioneering Spirit” vessel. 

BBL Manpower Goes Social

As we continue to progress forward into the age of social technology, it is becoming more and more obvious that the way we communicate and share information is continuously changing.

When we think about online communications and digital presence the words “social media” consistently spring to mind. Over the last two decades the rise of social media has been at the forefront of major developments in the world of digital media. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google +, Instagram & LinkedIn have attracted billions of active users across the globe and consequently changed the way we consume and convey information.

Consuming information in this way is obviously making a positive impact for both consumers and businesses alike, as it provides us with platforms for open discussion/feedback, the ability to join interest based communities and even grow our network of contacts.

We felt that to better serve our candidates and clients, these platforms were of pivotal importance and with that in mind, BBL Manpower is proud to announce the unveiling of our social media pages.

These pages will contain a mixture of industry news/updates/insights, current job vacancies, promotions and details on all of our latest projects.

You can find us on:




Google +

Join our online community today, by following, liking and sharing our pages to your colleagues and associates.