Scottish subsea training facility, The Underwater Centre, has linked up with Bibby Offshore to provide ROV apprentices with the opportunity to gain practical hands-on experience, unavailable anywhere else in the world.
The apprentices, who are employed by Bibby Offshore but are still too young to go offshore, will benefit from operational experience in the field with live ROVs and will undertake a wide variety of tasks including the mobilization/demobilization of the work class ROV.
The first two apprentices have completed three weeks of training where they gained experience in the Centre’s mechanical workshop and also on board the work class ROV vessel, Loch Sunart.
They, and other Bibby Offshore apprentices, will continue to train part-time at the Centre until they are fully qualified and ready to go offshore, learning all the skills available to students on the Centre’s ROV courses, from the routine maintenance of an ROV system and hydraulic testing to tether insulation measurement and fiber-optic termination.
This is the latest move by the Centre to strengthen links with industry and help create a competent workforce who have been trained in a contextual environment – as close to offshore as possible.
Steve Ham, The Underwater Centre’s Commercial Director, believes the apprentices will gain invaluable experience which will provide them with some of the skills they require for a successful career offshore.
“Practical experience is essential for all apprentices and this can be quite difficult to arrange when a company’s main operations are offshore.” he said.
“This is where we are able to step in and work with companies to provide hands-on experience with the equipment and conditions workers would experience offshore. It has so far proved really beneficial to Bibby Offshore apprentices.
“We’ve had several visits now from a total of four of Bibby Offshore apprentices and it has been a great experience for both parties. To have young, enthusiastic apprentices starting out in their careers is brilliant to see and hopefully the experience here will stand them in good stead.”
Gordon Zimmerman, ROV manager at Bibby Offshore, said: “One of Bibby Offshore’s core values is to realize the talent of its people. The company is aware that employee development contributes significantly towards achieving the company’s key business objectives, and we are constantly striving to develop ways to invest in the next generation, and nurture their skills and experience.
“Our ROV Apprenticeship Scheme is an important part of our overall award-winning people development program and we are delighted with the feedback from our apprentices who have attended The Underwater Centre’s excellent practical training.”
The Underwater Centre is a purpose-built subsea training and trials facility and is based on the shore of a seawater loch, well sheltered by the surrounding mountains. The Centre’s unique location allows it to provide year-round training and testing in a tidal, open-water environment with access to depths of over 100 meters.
On site there is a large range of vessels and equipment and a committed team of expert staff and instructors helping to make subsea training, testing or research work especially for the customer. It is the ideal location to perform realistic and industry-like training while still being centrally located in the largest town in the Scottish Highlands.
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, and continue providing the subsea industry with the workforce that it needs.