New £2.5 million offshore survival centre opens on Tyneside
A new £2.5 million purpose-built offshore survival training centre, which will train thousands of offshore workers how to survive in an emergency at sea, has opened its doors for business on North Tyneside.
The new world-class 20,000 sq ft centre has been developed by AIS Training in response to customer demand from the booming energy and renewable industries.
Located on the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate, the centre sits alongside AIS Training’s existing state-of-the-art 120,000 sq ft training village of 11 bespoke centres, where delegates can learn every skill and competency required to work in the oil and gas, wind, maritime and heavy industry sectors.
Featuring state-of-the-art facilities including a 4.5 metre deep environmental pool, fire training centre, Norwegian escape chute and lifeboat and davit system, the centre has been designed to provide an extremely lifelike setting where workers will learn survival techniques for emergency scenarios such as a helicopter ditching at sea, sea survival, escaping from a smoke filled environment and evacuating via a lifeboat. The centre also includes classrooms, changing facilities, a restaurant and meeting rooms.
Approved by industry bodies including OPITO (Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation), the Global Wind Organisation and STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers), the centre will offer mandatory safety training including BOSIET (Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training), medical and MIST (Minimum Industry Safety Training) which are all qualifications required by anyone working offshore.
These additional courses mean that AIS now offers one of the world’s largest training portfolios of more than 80 industry-approved courses for the offshore sector in one location including rigging, rope access, painting and blasting, fire protection, electrical and mechanical engineering and many more.
25 new jobs been initially created as a result of the new facility and 25 additional jobs will be created within 18 months bringing the total number of AIS employees to more than 100. The company also expects this new facility and additional training packages to help double its existing turnover within a 12 to 18-month period.
AIS managing director, Paul Stonebanks said: “We’re delighted to finally unveil our new £2.5 million world-class offshore survival centre, which will help to truly cement the North East’s position as an accessible and affordable training location for the global oil and gas, wind and maritime industries.
“Nobody likes to think of accidents happening such as a helicopter crash at sea or a fire on an offshore installation but it’s vital that offshore workers are prepared for all eventualities and equipped with the skills and training needed to cope with such a situation.
“More than six thousand delegates train with us every year in mandatory and optional industry-approved qualifications and competencies for the booming offshore energy market and this new facility enables us to provide both existing and new customers with all the training they need for their offshore careers.
“We are also looking forward to opening our brand new hotel for offshore workers in the next few weeks, which will provide an affordable accommodation option and a truly immersive training experience.“
AIS secured a £1.1 million funding package from HSBC’s Tyne and Wear Commercial Centre and a £250,000 Let’s Grow grant from the Regional Growth Fund to support the development of its offshore survival training centre.
Simon Allen, senior project manager at the BE Group said: “We are delighted to have been able to provide a £250,000 Let’s Grow grant from the Regional Growth Fund to help make the Survival Centre a reality. AIS is creating 50 extra jobs linked to the new Survival Centre, which is a welcome boost to the North Tyneside economy.“
Pat Dellow, HSBC Tyne and Wear area commercial director, added: “AIS has developed a comprehensive range of products targeted at the offshore sectors, bringing thousands of people to the North East each year to train.
“This not only provides those individuals with the vital skills needed to work in the offshore environment, it also benefits the wider North East economy. We are delighted to support the growth of this business through our £100 million SME fund for North East businesses and look forward to working with Paul and his team going forward.“
AIS is an award-winning manufacturer and service provider to the global offshore, wind energy and industrial sectors. It has six divisions: technical insulation and fire protection products, training services, facilities management, business efficiency related software, online sales and manpower services and works with blue-chip clients from around the world.