The Underwater Centre has unveiled a new model for increasing workforce competency in the ROV industry, using a realistic offshore instruction environment, at the recently held Subsea UK ROV conference in Aberdeen.
Industry and training providers have collaborated to develop work class ROV operations training that gives personnel thorough preparation and experience in essential aspects of work class ROV practice, offering the building blocks to improve safety and efficiency of staff and agency personnel.
Steve Ham, the Centre’s Commercial Director, told the ROV Conference that the aim of the industry-led solution is to address the looming skills and personnel shortage by offering both basic and advanced training to a greater number of workers, consequently shortening the time to reach senior roles.
The new model has seen The Underwater Centre set up and deliver the training, with significant input from industry. According to TUC, it represents a complete change in the approach to training and consequently the opportunities open to personnel development within the industry in the future.
Continue to invest in the next generation of ROV pilot technicians
Earlier this month, the Chief Executive of the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), Andy Samuel called on the sector to continue investing in the next generation of talent or risk a ‘crippling skills gap’ in the wake of the global drop in the oil price.
The Underwater Centre, Fort William, has received increasing support from the subsea industry and a number of companies – including Technip, Subsea 7, Fugro, Forum Subsea Technologies, FMC Schilling Robotics, Lawson Engineers Ltd, Digital Edge Subsea, Kongsberg and, more recently, Valeport – have been instrumental in developing the training syllabus, as well as donating much needed equipment.
Contextual training environment combined with practical instruction
Steve Ham said: “The new contextual training we are offering in conjunction with industry signifies a paradigm shift in the way we deliver our courses, and includes theoretical and practical instruction on board our work class ROV support vessel – Loch Sunart – in a realistic marine environment.
“Andy Samuel recently highlighted the need for companies to continue to invest in training and developing people, and this is just what we are doing in collaboration with the industry. The oil and gas industry is cyclical and we have seen this happen a number of times before – without the necessary investment now in training, there will be a large skills gap in the future.
“The new ROV Training Programme has been developed with a modular approach, covering topics such as ROV maintenance and operations, tooling, electrical and electronic systems, high voltage, working at heights, fibre optics and OTDR (Optical Time Domain Reflectometer), and hydraulics. The training is also staged to address the training needs of new entrants, as well as established and experienced personnel. This approach allows training to fit with companies’ existing competence development programmes.
“The competency and training of ROV operators will be an important factor in ensuring the continued development of the industry bringing increasingly significant operational and cost efficiencies.”