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The Underwater Centre Blog - Training you for the job, not just the ticket

RGU Nippon Foundation Students Gain Subsea Insight

The Underwater Centre hosted a group of 10 Japanese students in August 2017 as they attended our week-long Introduction to Subsea Operations course. The students spent a month at Robert Gordon University (RGU) as part of a development programme funded by Nippon Foundation Innovation Consortium. 

Taken from an article originally published by Robert Gordon University on 30 August 2017, “”RGU Nippon Foundation students gaining insight into subsea sector at The Underwater Centre”; you can view the full release here.RGU Nippon Foundations Attended Introduction to Subsea Operations

The students attended our Introduction to Subsea Operations course which is designed to provide an insight into the subsea industry.  The students received an overview of commercial diving and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations.

As well as receiving theory lessons and insightful lectures from our knowledgeable instructors, the students had an exciting opportunity to experience surface supplied diving in our large indoor diving tank and to operate an Observation Class ROV and, via our simulator, a Work Class, too.

Gain insight into the subsea industry 

Melissa Donald, Project Manager for the summer school from RGU’s School of Engineering, commented:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the students to gain a real, hands-on insight into the subsea sector. We are excited to be working once again with the staff at The Underwater Centre, and this short course really showcases their impressive facilities at the Fort William site. We are confident that the exposure to the practical elements of the course, will benefit the students greatly and will be as close to a working environment as they can possibly get.”

Observation Class and Work Class Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)

Steve Ham, The Underwater Centre’s Commercial Director commented on this visit, saying:

“We are delighted to be hosting the students from Nippon Foundation Ocean Innovation Consortium programme this year. Whilst with us they will receive an Introduction to Subsea Operations including a dive in commercial diving equipment within our large onshore tank, and some hands-on time flying ROVs. “We really hope this course will deepen the students’ appreciation of subsea operations and help them to further their careers.”

Surface Supplied commerical diving

Nippon Foundation Student Diving in Surface Supplied Equipment

On completion of the 4-day course, the students, from seven different universities across Japan, returned to Robert Gordon University to continue a full programme of learning which included modules led by RGU staff on subsea engineering, oil and gas exploration as well as drilling and well engineering.

The students attended master classes conducted by internal RGU experts and industrial speakers, as well as having the opportunity to use a drilling simulator situated on the RGU campus.

In their final week, the students visited the SPE Offshore Europe Conference & Exhibition at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. 

We’re pleased to report that the students successfully passed their 4 week course and graduated from RGU summer school!

If you’re interested in finding out more about the subsea industry, and the challenges faced by ROV pilots and commercial divers while they are working, check out our Introduction to Subsea Industry course page. Alternatively, call our Student Advisors on +44 (0) 1397 703 786 or email [email protected] for more details of the range of subsea training we provide 

Subsea Training

Scottish Resident Course Funding Available – What Are Your Options?

You’ve made the decision to train; funding can help. Develop your existing skillset for career change, growth or to diversify.  

The Underwater Centre offers a range of courses that can help you develop your subsea skillset as a Commercial Diver and ROV pilot. We can assist you in upgrading your knowledge and proficiency in areas relevant to other industries such as engineering or manufacturing and funding isn’t available to help you achieve your goals.

The below funding options are available to eligible Scottish residents that are looking to upskill, to ensure that they are training for skills shortages in the future, or for those that are at risk of redundancy from the Oil & Gas sector.

Class IIIA

Class IIIA WROV, Fort William

A number of our courses can be part or fully funded, including:

Premium ROV

ROV Pilot Technician

TITAN 4 Manipulator Training

Fibre Optics – Systems, Integration and Testing (OTDR)                   

Hydraulics Level 1

High Voltage & Electrical Safety

Oxy Arc Underwater Cutting

What are my funding options?

Two funding schemes are available that can assist you in attending our training courses in Fort William.

Each scheme offers different funding and please note that you can only apply for one funding pathway; you’re unable to receive Skills Development Scotland funding more than once.

You will need to carefully consider your reason for training and choose the appropriate course, then apply for your desired funding – we can help you with the rest.  

Transition Training Fund (TTF)

The £12m Transition Training Fund was set up by the Scottish Government, managed by Skills Development Scotland, to assist those affected by the downturn in the Oil & Gas sector.

You could be eligible for funding and gain financial support of up to £4,000 to retrain and redeploy your skills in Oil & Gas, the wider Energy sector, or engineering and manufacturing jobs.

Students wishing to apply for this funding must do so independently. We cannot apply for this training grant on your behalf and each application to Skills Development Scotland is considered on a case-by-case basis. Further guidance on the application process can be found on the Transition Training Fund website.

Once your funding application is submitted, your request will be processed by Skills Development Scotland. If your application is successful The Underwater Centre will receive the awarded amount; you will only be required to settle any additional fees.

Our helpful and knowledgeable Student Advisors can assist you with course information, funding queries and helping you start the application process. 

Eligibility criteria

Skills Development Scotland set the eligibility criteria as follows:

  • You must be resident in Scotland;
  • You have been made redundant or currently at risk of redundancy from the Oil and Gas Sector or its’ supply chain;
  • You’ve worked in the Oil and Gas sector or the supply chain as an employee or contractor;
  • You must be able to show that the training will help you get a new job;
  • You are actively seeking employment;
  • You have not committed to, or undergone, the course of training you’re looking for funding for.

Note: TTF funding will only cover training costs – not travel or subsistence – and can only be granted to applicants once.

Benefits of TTF Funding  

This funding can help you 100% fund your training at The Underwater Centre, gain the required qualifications to improve your job prospects, gain re-employment or improve your job security.

Funding Options Explained

Skills Development Scotland 50% Course Funding

The Underwater Centre has been awarded funding aimed at addressing the risk of future skills shortages in Commercial Diving and ROV operations.

Skills Development Scotland wants to facilitate access to high-quality, industry accredited training and associated qualifications. This 50% course funding support is targeted towards identified and immediate skills shortages in Closed Bell Diving and Work Class Remotely Operated Vehicles.

Eligibility criteria
  • You must have been a resident in Scotland for at least the past 12 months;
  • You have a valid National Insurance number;
  • Funding is open to individuals or businesses that wish to train their staff. 
Benefits of Half Price Course Funding

Skills Development Scotland funding can help you re-train for a career in ROV or develop your existing Commercial Diving skills and train for Saturation diving. You only need to pay half of the course fees and attend the training course. The funding application is also handled by our Student Advisors so we can guide you all the way. 

 What are your next steps?

Once you have decided on your funding pathway and training course, please contact us to discuss your training requirements and our Student Advisors will be available to discuss course information, funding options and the booking process. 

Useful Links

Fort William Commercial Diving and ROV Pilot Technician Courses

Transition Training Fund 

Skills Development Scotland

Our Student Advisors, Lorna and Ingrid, are available to discuss your course and funding options. Call on +44 (0) 1397 703 786 or email [email protected] for more information.

Increase in ROV Training Need Outside Oil & Gas Sector

The development of bespoke training, tailoring courses towards companies’ specific needs, has long been a key part of what we do at The Underwater Centre.  However we have recently noticed a real expansion in the number of bespoke ROV training courses we deliver to companies from outside the oil and gas sector.

ROV training for global research sector

When Haifa University in Israel purchased a Seaeye Leopard ROV recently, they realised that they needed more knowledge in maintaining and operating the system so they sent four candidates to attend our ROV Pilot Technician Course. Part of the ROV training course was delivered in Fort William and part on-site in Israel.

Staff from the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), India, also came to the Centre in early 2017 for a two-week bespoke ROV Operations Course to gain practical operational experience of flying a work class ROV, which will be used in their research work.

Limerick University in the Republic of Ireland also asked The Underwater Centre to create and deliver a tailored ROV Operations Course to equip their academic team with the skills they need to operate and maintain their recently purchased Comanche and smaller observation class ROV. The bespoke training focused on specific operational experience of using the Launch and Recovery System (LARS) and Tether Management System (TMS) on the work class ROV training vessel at our Fort William site, and incorporated use of our ROV simulator.

ROV training for the military sector

The flexibility we offer isn’t limited to course content and duration. Clients can also choose to have their training delivered at their home base if their facilities are suitable. This ensures that the training is even more specifically targeted to their needs and equipment. Some of our training personnel recently travelled to New Zealand for a second time to deliver the three-week ROV Pilot Technician Course to candidates from the Royal New Zealand Navy at their naval base.  As the instructor was on hand at their site, he was also able to provide expert advice on the ongoing maintenance of their Seaeye Falcon system.

Steve Ham, Commercial Director at The Underwater Centre says, “With the wide range of organisations now investing in ROV systems we’re pleased that companies see the benefits of training their staff with us – at our site or theirs – to ensure they get the very best out of their ROVs.”

For more information about bespoke ROV training visit our website here. Alternatively contact us on +44 1397 703786 or email [email protected]

ROV Training button

Funding for Training: Transition Training Fund Offers Support to Oil and Gas Workers

Support for people in Scotland’s Oil & Gas sector to use their skills in new jobs can now be accessed online thanks to the launch of a dedicated website, according to Skills Development Scotland.Commercial diver in training at The Underwater Centre Fort William  Read on to learn more about the funding for training still available, which can be used towards the cost of ROV pilot technician training, or commercial diver training.

The £12million Oil & Gas Transition Training Fund (TTF) was announced by the First Minister in 2016, and is aimed at people who have been made redundant from the Oil & Gas sector or are at risk of redundancy.

The TTF fund offers support with training grants to help people retrain, improve their skills or gain accreditation that would help them move into a new job; either in oil and gas, the wider energy sector, or engineering and manufacturing.

The website – – features a simple application process and provides further information.

Retaining and redeploying skills in energy

The fund is being administered by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Mike Duncan, Director of Energy Skills Scotland, part of SDS, said:

“Scotland is a world leader and a global centre of excellence in offshore engineering, subsea technology and in the export of offshore goods and services. As the sector continues to restructure, it’s vital that this rich resource of skills and experience is retained and redeployed in relevant areas of the energy, engineering and manufacturing sectors. The Transition Training Fund aims to do that, helping those affected by redundancy access support for training, certification or accreditation that will allow them to find new employment.”

Apply now for funding to retrain

100622 ROV survey stilll 2The Fund is open to anyone who has worked in the Oil & Gas sector or supply chain as an employee or contractor and has either been made redundant or is at risk of redundancy.

Applicants must be actively looking for work and be able to show that the training they wish to undertake will help them find a new job.

Applicants must also live in Scotland, and have either worked in Scotland in their current or previous job or be returning to Scotland to look for work from an overseas post. to visit their website.

Those interested should apply online and can also call SDS on 0808 100 1855 for more information on the funding for training.

This blog was originally posted on the SDS website – click here to visit their website.

For information on how this funding for training could help your career, either as an ROV pilot technician or as a commercial diver, whether in renewables, decommissioning, oil and gas, or survey work, please call Lorna or Ingrid on +44 1397703786 or email [email protected]

Language No Barrier to Learning at The Underwater Centre

Twelve experienced commercial divers from South Korea recently completed their HSE Experience and Competence Assessment (ECA) course at our Centre in Fort William – ‘nothing unusual about that’ you might say – except that this course was delivered entirely in the Korean language. 

Our staff had all the course documentation – including dive plans, log books and course material – translated into Korean and the course was delivered in Fort William with the assistance of an on-site interpreter. As well as translating the instructions and feedback from the assessors, the interpreter was also on hand to help with other everyday issues, such as explaining the centre’s restaurant menu!

Read more about the commercial diver training at The Underwater Centre

Top marks for course content, delivery, facilities and staff

Im Chang Yung, CEO of South Korea’s Deep Sea Works which specialises in civil engineering, diving and construction work, chose The Underwater Centre for his staff’s ECA course because he was impressed with the staff and facilities when he undertook his HSE Closed Bell training in 2008.

He was delighted with his team’s experience at The Underwater Centre, giving the centre top marks for the course content, delivery, facilities and staff. ‘I would definitely recommend The Underwater Centre to other companies, and I will be sending my next group of divers to do their ECA in November.’

Ali MacLeod, Air Diving Training Manager at The Underwater Centre was pleased with how smoothly the whole course went: “We had allowed a buffer of an extra week for working in another language, but we didn’t need it. The process worked really well and the on-site interpreter was fantastic. It also helped that the candidates were some of the best divers we’d ever assessed on the ECA.”

Foreign-language training in Tasmania

This isn’t the first time that The Underwater Centre has offered courses delivered entirely in another language – recently a group of Russian divers did their ADAS RPL (the equivalent of the HSE ECA course) and ADAS Closed Bell training entirely in Russian at our Centre in Tasmania.

Steve Ham, Commercial Director at The Underwater Centre, believes offering training in other languages is a huge benefit to subsea companies around the world: “HSE and ADAS are rightly seen as the gold-standard for subsea training. If your team has international certification, you’re showing a commitment to being the best, and you’ll gain a competitive edge when tendering for work.”

Building on these successes in delivering training in other languages, we can now offer all our HSE and ADAS certified courses for foreign language groups at our training sites in Fort William and Tasmania.

For more information on commercial diver training at The Underwater Centre, Fort William & Tasmania, click here. Alternatively email [email protected] or [email protected]