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Caithness Chamber funds retraining for subsea sector at The Underwater Centre

29th March 2013

The first graduate to come through The Underwater Centre’s Fort William-based subsea training facility as a result of a Caithness Chamber of Commerce-led funding initiative has already secured a job in the industry. Kevin Macleod (30), of Caithness, who was working as an instrument technician with Johnson Controls at Dounreay until recently, has been taken on as an apprentice ROV pilot technician with Fugro, one of the world’s largest ROV operators.

He completed the three week ROV Pilot Technician course at The Underwater Centre after receiving funding as part of the ‘Make the Right Connections’ project, which aims to help find jobs for those affected by the decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear facility.

The scheme is being led by Caithness Chamber of Commerce and is jointly funded by the European Social Fund, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd and Skills Development Scotland, to help assist local individuals and businesses to make the transition into new and emerging jobs and markets, boosting skills and retaining jobs in the local area.

Mr Macleod started his new role at Fugro in March, and is hoping to return to The Underwater Centre for further training. He said: “With the rundown and decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear site and the offshore energy sector on the way up, it seemed like a natural progression for me to pursue a career which would involve some of the skills which I had learned in my time working at Dounreay. The training offered at The Underwater Centre was of a very high standard and I hope that my time spent there will help me in my new career.

“My new role at Fugro is as a trainee ROV pilot technician and my planned career progression is to work my way up from this role to supervisor depending on opportunities within the company. Moving from the nuclear industry into the oil and gas sector was a big decision as it is a completely new role, but I am hopeful that I can adapt to the new scope of work and make the most of this opportunity.”

Fugro and The Underwater Centre have a long-standing partnership in place and more than 200 Fugro employees have been sent to the Centre for ROV pilot and technician training since 2007.

Steve Ham, The Underwater Centre’s general manager, added: “The Dounreay Nuclear Site has been an incredibly important employer in the area and the ongoing decommissioning will lead to a lot of skilled personnel looking for alternative careers.

The funding which is being made available for re-training will come as a welcome bonus for many who may not have had the financial backing to make it possible otherwise. Kevin is a great example of how this type of scheme is working, having already started in his new job in the industry as a result of the training provided here at The Underwater Centre.”

Two other Dounreay workers, Charles Angus and Neal MacDonald, are currently training at The Underwater Centre and are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Kevin and pursue a career in the subsea sector.

Trudy Morris, chief executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, added: “This programme is a great example of private and public sector partnership delivering real results on the ground. “The programme is helping to secure jobs, assisting new business start-ups and business diversification and enabling the transition of individuals into new jobs and careers as demonstrated here.”

Published at Offshore Shipping Online


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