Jack’s story

Jack Hopper

Apprentice Operator, Oil and Pipelines Agency (OPA)

Thanckes Oil Fuel Depot, Torpoint, Cornwall 

On leaving school in 2021 with a keen interest in engineering, Plymouth-based Jack Hopper decided to look for apprenticeship opportunities across a range of industries.

During his research he came across a Government website with information about Operator Apprenticeships with the OPA, which operates fuel depots around the UK for the Royal Navy and other approved customers for the Ministry of Defence. Jack decided to apply as it sounded like something different – in fact, neither he nor any of his friends had even heard of the tank storage industry at the time.

The OPA was among around 15 companies to whom Jack applied for an apprenticeship and it was the first to invite him for an interview. Passing the interview with flying colours he was offered an Operator Apprenticeship at the OPA’s Thanckes Oil Fuel Depot (OFD) in Cornwall – a manageable commute from his home in Plymouth. According to Jack the opportunity to work in such an interesting environment and to learn while earning a salary was simply too good to turn down. A year into his 30-month apprenticeship and Jack says he knows he made the right decision as the OPA offers great opportunities for career progression and amazing training.

Thanckes is a marine bulk fuel storage site on a peninsular just north of Torpoint.  It comprises storage tanks and jetty area, which allows delivery to and from ships, as well as road tanker loading facilities. As part of his apprenticeship Jack shadows Senior Operators to gain an insight into their roles and responsibilities. In addition to on-the-job training he also attends OPA’s technical training centre in Grimsby on a regular basis. 

Although he enjoys all aspects of his apprenticeship at the Thanckes OFD, Jack says he particularly likes getting hands-on experience of the refuelling operations. As to the future, he already has ambitions to take his career to the next level and, in time, to become a Fuel Depot Supervisor or maybe an Operations Manager. Based on his positive experience as an apprentice with the OPA, Jack has no hesitation in recommending the tank storage industry to anyone interested in pursuing a career in a dynamic sector that has an important role to play in today’s fast evolving energy landscape.

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