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Offshore drilling worker

Alternative titles for this job include Driller, assistant driller, derrickhand

Offshore drilling workers drill for undersea oil and gas on offshore rigs.

Average salary (a year)

£20,000 Starter


£60,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

53 to 55 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Offshore drilling worker

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • applying directly


An engineering related course like a Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Engineering may help you to get started in this role.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national certificate or higher national diploma

More Information


You may be able to do an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship before applying to work on offshore rigs.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More Information


You could start as a roustabout on a rig and learn on the job before moving into drilling work.

Direct Application

You can apply directly to offshore oil and gas companies if you've got experience in an industry like engineering or construction.

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about working in the offshore oil and gas industry from My Energy Future.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • observation and recording skills
  • the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a derrickhand, you could:

  • handle and stack sections of the drill pipe
  • maintain the derrick
  • operate the lifting and hoisting machinery to position the drill
  • control and maintain mud pumps, and supervise mud pump operators

As a driller, you could:

  • supervise the drilling team and control the rate of drilling
  • control operations on the drill floor
  • oversee assembly of the drilling tools and connect sections of the drill pipe
  • operate the drill control machinery
  • keep records of the drilling process
  • make sure the team follows health and safety rules

Working environment

You could work on a rig.

Your working environment may be cramped, physically demanding, at height, outdoors in all weathers and you may spend nights away from home.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could work for operating companies with their own exploration and production licences, or for drilling and maintenance contracting companies.

With experience, you could be promoted from driller to toolpusher or rig manager.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an Offshore drilling worker right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England


  • Start date: 16 September 2024
  • Location: HARTLEPOOL

FdEng/HNC Engineering - Mechanical Design

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Poole

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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