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LANCASHIRE’S SHALE REVOLUTION SPARKS CAREER CHANGE FOR FORMER HIGHWAYS MAINTENANCE WORKER

A former highways maintenance worker has landed the role of his dreams after securing an internship with leading shale gas operator Cuadrilla, which has now become a full time job.

Tom Rhodes, 34, of Poulton-le-Fylde, was determined to get into the oil and gas sector when the leading shale gas company set up an exploration site close to his home.

And now he is urging others to take the leap as Cuadrilla once again opens its summer internship scheme.

Tom, who worked for the council as part of the highways team, was determined to get into the oil and gas sector, so he decided to go back to college as a mature student to gain his qualifications.

To work round his full-time engineering degree studies at Blackpool and the Fylde College, he changed jobs and began travelling up and down the country as a service engineer for a local hot tub company.

“The tutors at my college knew I was interested in a career in the oil and gas sector and my interest in Cuadrilla, so when the opportunity arose they put me forward for the company’s seven-week internship programme,” said Tom.

After going through a rigorous selection process, he started his journey last summer at the company’s head office in Bamber Bridge, Preston. He is now an environmental officer primarily working from the country’s flagship shale gas exploration site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.

“I was completely out of my comfort zone, I hadn’t worked in an office environment before and wasn’t used to working in such a professionally diverse office,” said Tom. “You have everyone from geologists to engineers, project managers to business support staff all in one place.”

During the course of his internship, Tom worked alongside various project teams, impressing Cuadrilla so much that he was offered a full-time graduate engineer position as an environmental officer.

This summer Cuadrilla has once again partnered with Blackpool and The Fylde College to offer students the chance to work at its business for seven weeks. The paid internships are open to students over the age of 18 studying either business, engineering or science subjects.

To date, Cuadrilla and its Lancashire-based contractors have created 10 learning posts as part of the firm’s commitment to supporting local training opportunities for young people in the county.

Jill Overland, Finance & Business Services Director at Cuadrilla, said: “We’re really looking forward to working with the college this year to deliver a unique internship experience for the students who will be joining us.

“As well as hydraulic fracturing there are lots of other business support functions at Cuadrilla, which are vitally important to help our operations run smoothly. These internships will give the students a flavour of what it is like to work in the energy sector and the future career opportunities available to them.”

Nigel Brown, Blackpool and The Fylde College’s Director for Students, said: “Blackpool and The Fylde College continues to work collaboratively with a range of employers and is proud to provide these Cuadrilla internship opportunities to our students.

“We will be opening this offer to our undergraduates for the third successive year and look forward to its continued success.”

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