Un­der­wa­ter Cen­tre gets ex­tra cash boost for div­ing train­ing

The Oban Times - - NEWS - MARK ENTWISTLE MENTWISTLE@oban­times.co.uk

SPE­CIAL­IST un­der­wa­ter train­ing in Fort Wil­liam got a boost with news that the gov­ern­ment has awarded fund­ing to sup­port skills de­vel­op­ment.

The money for The Un­der­wa­ter Cen­tre comes from Skills De­vel­op­ment Scot­land and will help en­sure Scot­land is ready to sup­ply the qual­i­fied divers and re­motely op­er­ated ve­hi­cle pilots the sub­sea in­dus­try be­lieves it will need in the fu­ture.

The down­turn in the oil and gas in­dus­try has led to a re­duc­tion in train­ing by in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies.

With­out on­go­ing in­vest­ment in train­ing, the fear is skills will be lost to the in­dus­try as older work­ers re­tire with­out the skilled work­force to re­place them.

The sub­sea in­dus­try is a key part of the Scot­tish econ­omy and the Gov­ern­ment be­lieves it is vi­tal to sup­port sub­sea train­ing now so the coun­try’s work­force is ready to re­spond to pos­i­tive mar­ket con­di­tions when oil prices re­cover, as well as be­ing pre­pared for op­por­tu­ni­ties in de­com­mis­sion­ing and the off­shore re­new­ables sec­tor.

Scot­tish res­i­dents - those who have been liv­ing in Scot­land for at least the last 12 months - will be able to train in key cour­ses at The Un­der­wa­ter Cen­tre for 50 per cent of the usual cost.

The other half of the fees will be paid by Skills De­vel­op­ment Scot­land.

With in­dus­try needs in mind, the fi­nan­cial sup­port is tar­geted to­wards the spe­cific ar­eas where there are likely to be short­ages.

The sup­port is not seek­ing to bring new peo­ple into the off­shore in­dus­try but is aim­ing to in­crease the ca­pa­bil­ity of the peo­ple al­ready in the sec­tor.

Steve Ham, com­mer­cial di­rec­tor at The Un­der­wa­ter Cen­tre, says the sup­port of­fers huge ben­e­fits to the Scot­tish sub­sea work­force.

‘While none of us have a crys­tal ball, there are in­creas­ing signs the up­turn is com­ing. This sup­port for sub­sea skills train­ing will help com­pa­nies ben­e­fit more quickly and more ef­fec­tively from that up­turn.

‘It will also help in­di­vid­u­als ad­vance their own ca­reers by mak­ing it eas­ier to in­vest in them­selves.’

The fi­nan­cial sup­port is avail­able to both in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies who wish to train their staff and can­di­dates are urged to ap­ply as soon as pos­si­ble.

The to­tal value of the fund­ing is lim­ited and will be al­lo­cated on a first- come, first- served ba­sis.

F30 Divers in train­ing 01 IF Divers Danny Low, left, and Ross Jack­son in a div­ing bell dur­ing train­ing at The Un­der­wa­ter Cen­tre.

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