Underwater Centre awarded funds to encourage trainee diversCompany News // March 19, 2013
The Underwater Centre in Fort William has been awarded a further £130,000 as part of a major initiative to encourage Scottish-based individuals to begin a new career in commercial diving.
Announcement of this latest funding package from the Scottish Government’s Energy Skills Challenge Fund comes just three months after The Underwater Centre was awarded £360,000 towards the training of 42 Scottish-based individuals; the new funding will allow them to take on an additional 15 trainees.
The Underwater Centre said it was "overwhelmed with enquiries" after the announcement of the first tranche of funding last October, and has successfully filled all 42 places following a series of introductory assessment days. The first training courses began in early January.
The Energy Skills Challenge Fund is managed by Skills Development Scotland and aims to attract new entrants into Scotland’s energy sector and help people make their existing skills relevant to the sector. The funding is available to individuals with a Scottish postcode.
The news comes at a time when the UK is facing a skills shortage in the oil and gas sector, as well as an ageing population of commercial divers - a recent report by Oil and Gas UK shows that in 2011, more than a third of the UK’s ‘core’ diving personnel were aged between 45-54 years.
The funding will allow 15 prospective students the opportunity to undertake one of two courses - The Underwater Centre's New Construction Career Package and its Premium Industry Package – for half the normal fee, giving them the support and training needed to get started as commercial divers.