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Simon Jeppesen, an Australian living and working in Sweden, tells us how training at The Underwater Centre, Tasmania, led him into a new, international career as a commercial diver.
Simon was brought up in the beautiful Whitsunday islands of Australia, so it’s not surprising that he was drawn to the sea, but he didn’t start out his career in the water. After university, he originally worked as a maths teacher, before his love of adventure led him in a new direction…
What attracted you to a career as a commercial diver?
“I always loved being outdoors and while at university I joined the army reserves for some excitement and fun, something I kept on once I became a teacher. After I spent 8 months with the army in East Timor, I decided I wanted to leave teaching for something new. I loved diving in my free time so a career in commercial diving seemed like a great option. Plus, it’s a bit more intriguing saying ‘I’m a diver’ when someone asks what I do for a living!”
Why did you choose to train at The Underwater Centre, Tasmania?
“I started to look into the training options and after some research, decided on training as a commercial diver at The Underwater Centre, Tasmania, as it has a really strong reputation. I did the ADAS (Australian Diver Accreditation Scheme) Parts 1, 2 and 3 air diving tickets, which gave me a fantastic grounding in all the key skills I’d need as well as the essential diving qualifications.
“The ADAS certification means that I’m qualified to work internationally and the way the course was put together gives me the qualifications and skills to work both offshore and inshore. My experience at the Centre was perfect: I really couldn’t find a fault with it and I intend to do my next course there when I return to Australia.”
How easy is it to get work as a commercial diver?
“I found it really easy. I was travelling to Sweden after I finished the course and put my CV into a Swedish company on the off-chance. I did offer to work for 2 weeks without pay to prove myself, so that may have given me an edge. However, I was still surprised and delighted when they actually offered me a diving job! I really thought that the language would be a barrier, but most people here speak good English so it hasn’t been an issue.”
What do you like best about your commercial diving career?
“The fact that there’s no such thing as typical day. The jobs are always interesting as they can change from day to day. Not only the type of work and conditions, but also the location constantly changes so everything is always new and exciting. We work as a team so your crew becomes very close knit and it’s like working with great mates every day”
What don’t you like about being a commercial diver?
“The main thing I’m not so keen on here in Sweden is the RAIN! So really, under the water is probably the best place to be! In winter the snow everywhere and ice in the water can make work quite a challenge.”
Would you encourage others to pursue a subsea career as a commercial diver?
“Definitely! The pay is good, you get lots of time off to spend with family and it certainly isn’t a mundane job. There are new challenges every day and even guys in my company who’ve been doing this for 15 years still find that work throws them an interesting curveball every now and then.
If you’re keen on becoming a diver and want to do well, my advice would be to listen to the experienced guys and to have a really good attitude. Attitude is everything in building a career in commercial diving.”