Scotland’s first graduate training program for divers has been launched by diver training facility The Underwater Center and Stork Technical Services (Stork), a global provider of knowledge-based integrity services for the oil and gas, chemical and power sectors.
The Stork Dive Trainee Program is a three-year work-based training initiative, which will offer a number of newly qualified commercial divers the opportunity to step straight into a job within the oil and gas industry.
The scheme highlights the increasingly close ties The Underwater Center enjoys with the sector, and is aimed at offering those undertaking diver training an opportunity to gain valuable experience and knowledge of the industry following their initial training.
The initiative comes at a time when the U.K. is facing a dramatic skills shortage in the oil and gas sector, as well as an ageing population of commercial divers.
Stork will offer four trainee places a year to candidates who successfully complete the 13-week Commercial Diving Premium Industry Career program at The Underwater Center. Representatives of Stork will visit the Center once a quarter to meet and observe the students before inviting the top three or four to attend an assessment day at its Aberdeen premises, of which one will be chosen.
Successful trainees will spend three years working with Stork at various locations. They will initially start working with dive technicians and be involved in maintaining dive systems, logistics and processes to help familiarization. They will also work with the onshore dive team and complete around 80-100 days diving offshore.
Annual fixed-term contracts will be available to candidates successfully completing the three-year program.
Steve Ham, General Manager of The Underwater Center, said that the collaboration further strengthened the Center’s already strong links with industry.
“This collaboration with Stork offers a number of our graduates a fantastic opportunity to further enhance their skills with specialist training with a globally-recognized oil and gas company.
“In this day and age, experience of the sector is very important, and this scheme will ensure that the trainee receives a solid introduction to a career as a diver, as well as a chance to learn about other areas of the business.
“At The Underwater Center, building and consolidating relationships with industry is an important and integral part of our business, and we are delighted to be working with Stork on this exciting new initiative.”
Alan Melia, Diving Technical Authority for Stork Technical Services, said, “We are extremely pleased to be aligned with The Underwater Center.
“The training facilities’ established reputation for producing exceptional graduates will prove to be an asset to Stork’s Subsea division. We recognize the importance of developing and retraining the brightest and the best in the industry, and I am confident that Stork’s Dive Trainee Program will be a major contributor to our long-term success.”
Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing said, “Scotland has established a global reputation within the oil and gas sector and I am delighted that Scotland’s first graduate training program for divers has been opened in Fort William.
“The Underwater Center at Fort William is a center of excellence in the training of divers. The need for divers in relation to subsea work, and maintenance of infrastructure is considerable, and therefore we hugely welcome this initiative which will help to build further on the quality of training delivered there.
“The oil and gas sector is vitally important to Scotland's economy. With more than half of the value of the North Sea's oil and gas reserves yet to be extracted, oil and gas will remain an enormous economic resource and a major employer of a highly skilled workforce for decades to come.
"Scotland’s Oil and Gas Strategy, developed in conjunction with industry, lays out a plan to help the industry go from strength to strength - it is predicted that investment should rise from £11.4 billion in 2012 to over £13 billion in 2013 – this clearly demonstrates the confidence investors and the industry have in Scotland.”