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Shortage of ROV pilots creates opportunities for career change
A current shortage of ROV pilot technicians could provide a lucrative and exciting opportunity for a change of career, according to the world’s leading ROV pilot technician training centre, as the demand for skilled workers continues to increase in the global oil and gas industry.
A recent report from the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) predicts that there is currently a worldwide shortfall of some 500 personnel in the ROV industry, with an estimated future shortfall of around 2,000 people in the next three to five years.
In response to the surge in demand, The Underwater Centre (TUC) has increased the number of courses it offers in ROV pilot technician training for the current year, and is already filling up courses for 2013. The Centre is also looking to expand its current ROV team with new staff in an effort to meet market demand.
Those with any technical aptitude, having experience or knowledge in areas such as electronics, hydraulics or engineering, tend to make ideal candidates for ROV training.
General Manager at the Centre, Steve Ham, said those with experience in other industries can easily transfer those skills to develop a new career in the oil and gas sector.
“As well as learning how to pilot an ROV, a great deal of the role of ROV pilot technician is about the repair and maintenance of ROV systems, so our courses take existing technical knowledge and apply it to ROVs. Those with an interest or background in electronics, hydraulics or engineering are well suited to the role. Whether that’s having spent years maintaining outboard engines, or having a degree in engineering, our courses cater for all levels of technical capabilities, giving graduates a foot in the door of the industry.”
“ROVs are playing an increasingly important role in the industry as oil and gas companies now need to drill at ever greater depths to extract hydrocarbons and, this year in particular, has seen an increase in demand by industry for well-trained ROV pilot technicians, as can be seen in the recent figures from IMCA,” he said.
“We have responded by increasing the number of courses we offer at the Centre, and we have been working very closely with the subsea industry to ensure that our courses train candidates to the standard required by industry.
“The ROV industry provides an excellent career choice, with benefits including job satisfaction, lucrative earnings and worldwide travel, and our courses attract students from across the globe. The overall average time for our students to find work is less than three months; however, this year we have seen that time shorten dramatically, with some students working within a week of graduating.”
Based in Fort William, in the Scottish Highlands, The Underwater Centre’s in-depth training programmes comprise four week of electronics modules and three weeks training in ROV operations, including repair and maintenance, and flying live ROVs in the open-water tidal waters of Loch Linnhe. Those with a particularly strong technical background may be able to progress straight to the three-week ROV Pilot Technician course. The Centre has a set-up similar to that of offshore, with ROV control cabins, launch and recovery systems and a dedicated engineering and electronic workshop Trainees also train alongside the Centre’s commercial diving students, preparing them for working with divers on real jobs.
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