Underwater Centre Records Increase in Requests for Diving Courses (UK)


Following an increase in offshore projects, The Underwater Centre has seen an increase in requests from the oil and gas and renewables sectors to understand more about the diving and ROV professions.

The Underwater Centre in Fort William has delivered training to companies who will now be hiring diving contractors as part of their offshore and onshore projects and need to understand and appreciate the intricacies of the process.

Companies embarking on diving or ROV projects recognise that a greater understanding is fundamental to ensure company representatives know what questions to ask contractors when work is being carried out. They need to have detailed knowledge of requirements for minimum team sizes, diving qualifications and a good understanding of the challenges faced by a dive team.

This increase in offshore and onshore representatives’ competency aims to produce more efficient working, which reduces company expenditure.

Former commercial divers and current ROV pilots make up the team of instructors at The Underwater Centre who, due to their extensive experience, have a unique perspective on training requirements in the industry.

DONG Energy E&P recently spent two weeks at the Centre attending the Company Representatives Course (Diving for Non-diving Personnel) following the announcement that they will perform significant repair works to the Siri Platform in the Danish North Sea.

Jake Law, Subsea Engineer at DONG said: “We have started work on a project that has a lot of diving days, approx. 80 in 2011 and around 200 in 2012. The Siri Repair Project and DONG’s continued company growth means that we need to improve on the base competency levels of our Company reps on diving vessels, which is where our need for training stemmed from.

“We were very specific in what we wanted to get out of the course. We provided some of the high-level documents from our current projects and then spent time with key people at The Underwater Centre going through the details of what we wanted to achieve from the course. The Centre could then tailor the course programme to fit our needs.

“Our Company reps already have a base knowledge and many years experience as Company reps in diving operations, but this course further expands on that, giving them greater understanding of diving methods, legislation and physiology. It’s been a great learning tool for our people.

Steve Ham, General Manager at The Underwater Centre said: “Many non-diving companies are recognising the importance of their own teams having a good understanding of the diving and ROV disciplines. They find that gaining this understanding is hugely beneficial to them in terms of productivity, cost effectiveness and of course, employee safety.

“At The Underwater Centre we have the facilities, trainer expertise and experience to put together a bespoke training package for what the client requires and will deliver results for their business.”

Non-diving personnel from other companies who have also utilised the training at The Underwater Centre include Scottish and Southern Energy, Subsea 7 and Rumic.

The Underwater Centre is unique as it leases the seabed around its pier complex, meaning that a subsea work area – including a simulated well jacket, a section of pipeline and a welding station – has been constructed for trainees, allowing them to learn ‘on the job’, working in industry relevant conditions.

The Centre delivers a number of other subsea training courses, such as Remotely Operated Vehicle pilot technician training and also the internationally recognised HSE commercial diving courses, which are all designed to equip students with the skills they will need to succeed in their new careers.

The Underwater Centre is a purpose built training facility which incorporates an extensive pier complex including four dive stations, classrooms, workshops and decompression chambers.

In addition to this, there are three fully equipped barges set up to support a variety of diving disciplines including closed bell, wet bell and surface supplied diving. With accommodation and additional classrooms based at the landward end of the pier, The Underwater Centre is set up to provide its students with the skills and experience to succeed in their new careers.

Source: Underwater Centre, October 14 , 2011

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