Q&A with Axess Summer Interns

You might be wondering, what is it like to participate in a summer internship program at Axess? We took some time for a  little Q&A to get a sneak peek into the culture of Axess as seen through the eyes of the young, smart, and sporty summer intern students, Henrik Brude and Morten Jørgensen. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Henrik: My name is Henrik Brude and I am 24 years old. I am currently studying my master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). This is the second time I’m spending my summer in Molde, as an intern for Axess. In my spare time, I like to climb and mountain bike, and for that reason, the Molde office is a perfect location.

Morten: I am a sporty 24-year-old Norwegian. I just finished my bachelor thesis in Mechanical Engineering, and I plan to start my master’s degree this fall. I’m currently combining a sports career at the American Orienteering National Team with a summer internship at Axess.

How did you hear about Axess?

Henrik: My cousin who is working for Alpa told me about the summer internship in Axess. I thought it was interesting, so I applied shortly afterwards.

Morten: I had a good friend there as a summer intern, and he was happy with the people and their values. I kind of forgot about the company throughout the year, but the next spring, I met Magnus Fanghol who is working there. We talked about sports, education, etc., and a couple of days later, he said they might be looking for summer interns and wondered if I would like to come for a job interview.

Henrik Brude and Morten Jørgensen
Henrik Brude (left) and Morten Jørgensen (right) - two young summer interns of the Axess Engineering team

What do you do as an intern at Axess?

Henrik: As an intern in Axess, you have a lot of opportunities. Last year I had a wide range of tasks. I worked with management and engineering tasks, as well as some practical field work. As an engineer in Axess, you can follow your project all the way from the planning to the actual field execution. I find this combination interesting and wanted to see how it is to work in the field. This year, Axess gave me the opportunity to work offshore as a field engineer.

Morten: These first weeks, I have been part of a 5-man team working on a concept where we try to improve the Plug & Abandonment (P&A) process of old oil wells in the North Sea.

What is your impression of Axess’ culture?

Henrik: The learning environment at the office is very good and my colleagues are helpful and supportive. Molde is a beautiful place surrounded by mountains and fjords, and the employees in Axess know how to utilise this through sports. There is a common passion for the region, which I think brings the employees together.

Morten: My first impression has been great. All the people I have met so far has been very welcoming and helpful. Combining work at Axess with a sports career has worked well for me so far.

Morten Jørgensen
Morten Jørgensen: World Championships 2017, Sprint QualificationWorldofO.com)

What do you enjoy most about what your internship experience at Axess?

Henrik: To be able to explore the oil and gas industry from both a theoretical and practical aspect.

Morten: Using the knowledge acquired in school to something useful together with a team of skillful engineers and great people.

How do you see the experience you are gaining here at Axess factoring into your future?

Henrik: The experience of cooperating as an engineering team towards a common goal is applicable in every project engineering job that might come next.

Morten: Having the experience to work with professional engineering team builds a solid base for anything the future might hold. If the world turns electric in 5 years, the knowledge acquired could be applied to all industries in need of a competent engineer.

Henrik Brude
Henrik Brude likes hiking, skiing, mountain climbing, and biking in his free time.

What has been the biggest learning experience for you here at Axess?

Henrik: My biggest learning experience has been my first offshore job at Åsgard A. As an engineering student it was exciting to get some hands-on experience and see how the jobs are executed offshore. My colleagues were experienced, and I learned a lot from them during my first job.

Morten: With the involvement in the Plug & Abandonment project I have learned a lot about how the drilling works, and what equipment is involved in the process. I have also acquired new techniques in 3D-modelling from the process.

What advice would you give to fellow students who are starting their first corporate work experience?

Henrik: Be interested and curious, and never say no to a challenge.

Morten: Get out there, have fun, be valuable, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Singapore Sling

Zhongwei Yang

Zhongwei Yang

Project Engineer

"The past one year in Molde had been an eventful one for me – one filled with many exciting firsts both in my work and personal life. "

How it started

I was a subsea design engineer based in Singapore looking for an opportunity for offshore work experience as I believe that it would give my work a different dimension. I was also looking for more challenges to take on at work. I chanced upon Axess and made arrangements for an interview. At that point in time my knowledge of the company was pretty limited and to prepare myself for the interview, I had tried to search for its profile on the internet – turns out Axess is a pretty quiet company! There was very brief information on the homepage coupled with an image of a person in the midst of a ski jump and the caption ‘passion in life – passion at work’. Nevertheless, after speaking with Axess, they had me convinced and I took my big leap of faith for an adventure to Molde. On hindsight, it was a life-changing and one of the best decisions I had ever made.

At work with the best and talented

I can vividly recall my first day in Axess. First thing I was asked the moment I stepped into the reception was: “Hi! Do you know how to ski? Are you a climber? If you are not, then you have to learn!” (We later joked that we should include this in all our interviews for new hires and I should start a scuba diving culture back home in Singapore office). While some might be intimidated by such an encounter, Axess is truly an epitome of competitive spirit and striving for excellence. It is clearly shown from the high level of service that Axess delivers to their clients every day.

Axess: “We like to hire competent people who are smarter and better than us; then we will all become smarter and better!” Having said that, I’m humbled and honored to work with the highly brilliant minds and extremely talented people in the Axess family. I have learned a lot from my colleagues and have grown a lot both personally and knowledge wise in my time spent in Molde.

Beyond work

Living in Molde gave me a nice treat to the beautiful mountains and fjords. Thanks to my colleagues’ generous hospitality, I had the opportunity to experience the Norwegian life and culture which I probably wouldn't get otherwise (trekking up skåla, tasting svele/ smalahove/ aquavit). Free time was spent chilling out or making dinner together with colleagues from different parts of the globe. Camaraderie was forged and I also gained valuable insight and perspectives from various cultures.

Moving forward

I’m looking forward to the new challenges that lie ahead and hopefully I can bring and spread the Axess culture here in Asia.

Learning from the best

Felipe Perissé Duarte Lopes

Felipe Perissé Duarte Lopes

International trainee - Inspection engineer

"After six months at Axess in Norway it’s time to talk about this adventure and my experiences so far."

First let’s talk about my education and how I got this job at Axess.

I’m a metallurgical and materials engineer, and possess a bachelor from the State University of North of Rio de Janeiro (Universdade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, UENF). The university is placed in Campos dos Goytacazes which is my hometown in Brazil, but in the end of my undergrad I had to make a tough decision between going to work or keep on studying to increase my knowledge. I had a desire to study abroad to improve my English skills, that at that point was terrible. My parents couldn’t afford to pay English courses.

My first contact with Axess

I got some advises from the school adviser, and he made a proposal I couldn’t refuse. He said that I could keep studying to receive a master degree in shorter time than usual. After the first period I did a sandwich doctorate (PHD) which means that I did all the courses in Brazil and half the period is experiments abroad, in this case in San Diego, California. I finished my degree in two years and three months.

During my San Diego period I went home to Brazil for Christmas and New Year. During one of my stays in Brazil I met Ivan Rongel from Axess do Brazil and had an informal chat with him at a restaurant. He was interested in my educational background, and this was the start of my contact with Axess. Before I went back to the US I had already done the interview at Axess do Brazil, and I did another one on Skype after getting back to San Diego.

When I returned to Brazil to defend my PhD thesis I received the job offer to join the Axess International Trainee program. I was going to Norway for one year to learn and then return to Brazil! What an adventure! So, I defended my PhD thesis on a Wednesday, signed the contract at AdB on Friday and on Monday I was already in Norway.

Learning from the best

After a slow start at Axess in Molde, with workshops, courses and introductions to all Axess procedures, I started the work properly. My first trip offshore was to a semi-sub Transocean rig (Winner) that’s a small and old rig. I learned a lot as I worked closely with one of the most experienced guys from Axess at RBI. After this first job I’ve done several projects on different rigs, such as fixed, jack up and semi-sub, in Mexico, Singapore and some in Norway.

With all these projects I’m increasing my professional experience, learning more and more of the most experienced workers and learn to deal with challenges that show up. I learn about new places, cultures and foods.
I love what I’m doing because it fits with my educational background and I’ve got colleagues who help each other to develop further.

And now, I am ready for new projects, more embarks, more tasks and more challenges to be solved in the remaining six months. After that I return to Brazil, with new knowledge that I hope that I can use for what it is worth.

Cheers, Skål and Brinde!

USA - Norway and back

Kevin Davenport

Kevin Davenport

International Trainee

Main work areas: Drilling Equipment & Dropped Object Prevention

"My name is Kevin and I am the American trainee. July 4th marked 1 year since I left Houston; set for Molde on the mountainous western coast of Norway. Molde became my temporary home and base of operations, but my job has sent me many places in the last year - from the UK to the island of Curacao in the Caribbean (and back to Houston a few times)."

How it started

I graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering in May 2013 from Texas A&M University. At the Aggie career fair I had encountered a few Axess engineers manning a booth, I traded a resume for a business card there, and my hiring process began. Once I learned the details of the assignment I was interviewing for, my mind was made up. International travel and hands on experience were on top of my list of priorities, and the international trainee assignment promised to meet these expectations and more. Bags were being packed before I signed on the dotted line.

Figure it out

Learning a new industry and a new country at the same time was an exciting challenge; in a month I had gone from learning rocket science in Texas, to offshore drilling in the North Sea. Luckily the two industries have something in common (Texas and the North Sea… don’t). Both industries have, which from my experiences, are some of the most difficult problems and complex solutions that engineering has to offer.

The transition was as smooth as it could have been though; thanks to the brilliant and hardworking people I have been able to work side-by-side with, and my unconditionally supportive family sending hot sauce packages across the Atlantic. I have had the opportunity here to make new friends, and learn from them. I continue to have this opportunity on a daily basis, and I’m grateful.

Keep moving

The time spent offshore with Axess has been the highlight of my working days. Every day can present a new challenge, and you never know what you’re going to get, or what part of the world you’ll be in when the month ends. The lifestyle has been demanding but the rewards are great, as Churchill said: difficulties mastered are opportunities won.

Looking forward to the next project, the next rig, and the next year.

Thanks, Gig ‘em, and Skål.

My first impressions

Marius Juelsrud Vebner

Marius Juelsrud Vebner

International Trainee

Main work areas: Dropped object prevention and safe lifting

My name is Marius and I am one of four international trainees in Axess. When I was a student and tried to decide what to do with my professional career, it felt like an impossible choice. However, after being introduced to Axess I had a strong feeling that this was the best option by far. This was due to the company’s attitudes, work ethics and the employee’s way of enjoying life! When I started in August, my expectations were high. As an appropriate start of this blog, I will therefore briefly share some stories from my first four months in Axess.

The start-up

After 5 theoretical years at NTNU (the Norwegian University of Science and Technology), I was eager to get first-hand experience by using some of the knowledge I had gained. Not only by working from an office, but to actually see and follow up ongoing projects in real life. The first days of introductions were followed by internal and external training, including rope access techniques, dropped object prevention, safe lifting and general offshore preparations.

Learning by doing

After two months, I was hanging from ropes, 35 meters below a drilling rig in the middle of the North Sea. I was a part of a three-person climbing team. The scope of the trip was to secure potential dropped objects, but as climbers and engineers, we were given a wide range of challenges waiting for good solutions. When the actual situation seldom went together with the information we were given, quick and clever decisions were essential to satisfy our client’s needs.

I have been told that rapid changes and unpredictability is the standard rather than the exception in the offshore industry. This was quickly confirmed on my second trip, and became a true challenge on my third and latest trip offshore. I was sent out as the work-leader for a team for a quick trip that could be over within a few days. However, meetings with the rig management revealed that we had to go beyond our prepared work scope. When we left the rig a week later, we had not only been introduced, but mostly been working with a complete different segment of Axess’ services. Thanks to good colleagues, learning by doing turned out to give excellent results and valuable experience for me as a fresh work-leader.

Steep learning curve

The learning will continue for the following months as well. I have briefly been introduced to a project were I will work full time until the beginning of May 2014. I will join a competent technical group in the planning of a complex lifting operation beneath the Oseberg C platform. The operation itself will require ten persons working on shifts, day and night, over two full weeks. I am also intended to take part in one of these teams to get the practical experience as well. There are in other words exciting times ahead, before I will travel out to one of our international location with all my lessons learned…

Building International competence

During the next three years, Maris, Zhongwei, Kevin and Felipe will go through an exciting development program to get to know Axess and the company’s way of working.

The training will involve all necessary courses for offshore travel, rope access work, work leadership training, project management training, training in derrick integrity management and dropped object management and several offshore travels in Norwegian and International waters.

The International Trainee Program is important to us in order to exchange competence between our locations and build a common Axess culture world-wide. After the training period, they will be evaluated and we will arrange job tasks according to personal skills and ambitions. Managing positions will be possible for the right candidates, says HR- director in Axess, Lene Vahaugvik Avset.

The trainees will spend the first year in Molde at the head office, before going to one of Axess’ International locations in Rio de Janeiro, Houston or Singapore.

I didn’t know anything about Axess. Some friends recommended the company. The profile was interesting and I am not disappointed. I am convinced that I will meet more challenges than I can imagine, however that is precisely what I found most interesting. I’m really looking forward to this, says Marius.

Zhongwei from Singapore has moved into his new home for the coming year, and is eager to get to know the company and Molde better.

I’ve been walking around here a lot and had a look. I like what I’m seeing. I still haven’t been at the viewing point at Varden, but it’s placed on the top of my “to do list”, says Zhongwei.