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From apprentice to foreman

“I’ve loved being an apprentice, and I’ve been made to feel really welcome by all of my colleagues,” says Hedda Mathilde Hollen.

In February Hedda passed her apprenticeship exam with flying colours following a three-year apprenticeship at Beerenberg. She has been working at Nyhamna, Statfjord C and now Tjeldbergodden. The company has been so impressed with Hedda Mathilde Hollen that it has already offered her a job as a foreman at Tjeldbergodden. “Of course it’s going to be a big transition. As an apprentice you always have a mentor to turn to. As a foreman I have to be independent and make my own decisions. Still, I see this as a fun challenge,” she says.

What are the most important aspects of your job?
When I was working as an apprentice my job meant learning everything about insulation and surveying as well as manufacturing parts in the prefab workshop. Insulation is a broad field, and it’s important to be familiar with the different insulation classes. We use different insulation classes on different sites and installations depending on what we are insulating and local conditions. Things can therefore be different offshore than on onshore plants such as Tjeldbergodden.

One important part of the apprenticeship exam is to manufacture various parts in prefab, including jacketing parts and entire insulation boxes. More and more parts are arriving ready made, and when I was at Nyhamna and offshore it was actually difficult finding enough to do in the prefab workshop.

At Tjeldbergodden we have our own workshop and build many of the parts ourselves, which has given me plenty of training in the past year.

What is typical day at work for you?
We work two-week shifts, which means 13 days non-stop from 7 in the morning to 7 at night. Then we have 15 days off. We make a plan for all the work we need to complete in that two-week period. The plan is then broken down into daily schedules. After the morning meeting we just go out there and get on with it – working safely, efficiently and flawlessly. That’s it, really.

Now that I’m taking on the foreman role there will be more paperwork. I have to learn the IT systems for recording and planning the work. I’ll also be striving to become a good leader. I hope I’ll succeed with that.

What kind of challenges do you tend to encounter?
Insulation often involves awkward spaces. It’s not always easy to fit the insulation and jacketing. You have to be creative and come up with good ideas. That makes the job especially interesting. Having to stop and think is a good thing. If you can solve the challenge, it makes you feel you’ve achieved something.

Can you describe your dream day at work?
That’ll be a day when every operation goes to plan. The weather is nice and there’s a good atmosphere in the team. That’s when I enjoy myself.

How did you end up in this job?
I like being outdoors, on the move and physically active, so I wanted a practical kind of job. I studied technical industrial production at college in Molde and saw that Beerenberg were looking for insulation apprentices.

I learned nothing about insulation at college, so I didn’t really know what the job entailed. But I like a challenge and don’t feel I have to follow the same path as everyone else. That’s something I’ve not regretted for a moment.

I would recommend becoming an apprentice – in our industry. There is no doubt that we need people, so the work is there. And it involves a lot of different kinds of work for those who are practically minded. I find there is a bit of a misunderstanding in that you need academic qualifications to get a secure job. I’d say just go for what you want to do – I’m glad I did.