Well known for offering bespoke training in commercial diving and remotely operated vehicle operations to a range of clients worldwide, The Underwater Centre is winning business from an increasingly diverse client base
When Haifa University in Israel acquired a Seaeye Leopard remotely operated vehicle (ROV) recently, it realised that it needed more knowledge in maintaining and operating the system and sent four candidates to attend The Underwater Centre’s ROV pilot technician course. Part of the course was delivered at the training company’s Fort William, Scotland, base and part on site in Israel.
However, Haifa University isn’t the only academic client to have undertaken ROV training with The Underwater Centre in recent months. Staff from the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) in India came to The Underwater Centre in early 2017 for a two-week bespoke ROV operations course in order to gain practical operational experience of flying a work-class ROV, which will be used in their research work.
Limerick University in the Republic of Ireland also asked The Underwater Centre to create and deliver a tailored ROV operations course to equip their academic team with the skills they need to operate and maintain their recently purchased Comanche and smaller observation-class ROV. The bespoke training focused on specific operational experience of using the launch and recovery system and tether management system on the work-class ROV training vessel at the centre’s Fort William site and incorporated use of the centre’s simulator.
As Steve Ham, commercial director at The Underwater Centre, explained, the content and duration of courses it offers aren’t limited in any way. Clients can also choose to have training delivered at a home base if their facilities are suitable. This ensures that the training is even more specifically targeted to their needs and equipment. Personnel from The Underwater Centre recently travelled to New Zealand for a second time to deliver the three-week ROV pilot technician course to candidates from the Royal New Zealand Navy. As the instructor was on hand at their site, he was also able to provide expert advice on the ongoing maintenance of their Seaeye Falcon system.
Mr Ham said that, with the wide range of organisations now investing in ROV systems, the centre has been attracting an increasingly diverse client base.
Singapore’s SSE Training Centre Pte Ltd recently became the first partner in another of The Underwater Centre’s area of expertise, diving, when the UK centre announced its new International Training Establishment (ITE) partnership scheme.
The scheme will allow training centres around the world to deliver internationally recognised commercial diving courses, accredited by ADAS. This is the first time divers have been able to train to a top-calibre international standard outside the standards body’s home country.
“There are huge opportunities in commercial diving around the world, but also risks – which is a dangerous combination,” said Mr Ham. “Too many divers are dying because of insufficient training. Partly this is down to cost, but another important barrier is the fact that divers are unable to get the best possible instruction because of where they are in the world. With the ITE scheme, we are removing that barrier.
“The oil and gas industry is just picking up from the bottom of its cycle, and more projects are coming online. The offshore wind industry is taking off, and decommissioning will need a lot of divers too. There are busier times ahead for the sector, and the ITE scheme will help divers around the world be part of that while maintaining the highest standards of safety.”
The ITE partnership scheme works by allowing existing diver training establishments to partner with The Underwater Centre, Tasmania, which has a unique agreement in place with ADAS allowing it to deliver accredited training outside of Australia. All potential partners are fully audited by The Underwater Centre to ensure high standards, and all ADAS courses are then delivered in conjunction with the company’s training experts to guarantee consistent quality.
By training this way, divers benefit from greatly increased safety as well as an internationally recognised qualification that boosts their earning potential and opens career paths around the world. Companies employing the divers can also be assured of greater worker safety and efficiency, and they can bid for a broader array of projects internationally.
“It’s a win for everyone,” said Mr Ham, “divers and employers. We hope that, by making this level of training accessible globally, there will be less incentive to hire unqualified or poorly trained divers. This way, we can help squeeze out bad practice and gradually raise the safety bar across the whole industry.”