Meet our Team – Andrew ‘Herb’ Mitton
Andrew ‘Herb’ Mitton has been an instructor at The Underwater Centre, Tasmania, for the past three years. In this week’s blog post, Herb tells us how he got started as a commercial diver and passes on some advice if you’re thinking of a career in commercial diving.
“I was always fascinated by all things dive-related as a child. I spent hours reading all I could on the subject, and religiously watching relevant TV programs such as The Underwater World of Jacque Cousteau. I did my SCUBA and Surface Supplied training in my late teens, however my first career was in the horticultural industry where I formed my own business as a landscaper in Sydney. Diving was always my dream though, so eventually I took the decision to move to Tasmania to pursue a role as a commercial diver in the aquaculture industry in 1988.
ADAS diver training in Tasmania
“I started as a farm attendant/ diver and worked through a number of companies in Tasmania and Western Australia holding progressively higher roles, finishing up in 2009 holding the role of Managing Director! I first heard of The Underwater Centre, Tasmania, back in 1996 when I undertook additional training with the school then. I also used the Centre to provide dive training for myself and the divers under my management from 1997 through to 2007, which is when I left Tasmania for a while.
Aquaculture and civil dive jobs
“I remained an active diver during the 21 years I spent in the aquaculture industry, logging over 4,500 dives prior to joining The Underwater Centre, Tasmania, in 2009. I also completed a number of civil dive jobs which included pipe-line installation and maintenance, wharf and pier installation and maintenance, design/installation and maintenance of mooring systems, and the occasional salvage job. Plenty of interesting stories… most not fit for print and conveniently forgotten to protect the guilty!
Passionate about teaching new skills, and the diving industry
“As a commercial diving instructor I really like the interaction with our students and enjoy assisting them in building their knowledge and skills towards their qualifications. It’s satisfying to see the personal growth they go through during their time at the Centre. I am passionate about the diving industry and enjoy the opportunity to teach a subject I am passionate about.
“In terms of what background best suits for becoming a commercial diver, I think it helps if you have a natural passion for working on or in the water and I found my own aquaculture background very useful in this regard. Having said that, some of our best students have come from non-water backgrounds/careers and have done very well. A trade background such as having previously been a welder/boilermaker, fitter, rigger, or a carpenter etc seems to make the practical nature of the work easier to grasp and also can assist to get a job, as many employers look beyond the diving qualifications to see what other skills the candidate will bring to their work-place. We do also provide underwater tools training, which helps those who don’t have a trade background get into employment as a diver. Helping students into their new career is ultimately what I’m here for.”