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The Underwater Centre Flying High at Leuchars Air Show

ROV surveying the oil platform frame at The Underwater CentreVisitors to the world famous Leuchars airshow this weekend can learn all about training to be a pilot with a difference – flying remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in the water rather than planes in the sky.

The Underwater Centre in Fort William, the leading global supplier for diving and ROV training, will be exhibiting at the event this Saturday (September 15), showing feature footage of divers and ROVs in action.  The Centre’s Head of ROV Operations and Training, Paul Bury, himself an experienced ROV pilot technician, will also be on hand to answer any questions visitors may have about this fascinating career path.

The Underwater Centre is based on the shores of Loch Linnhe, which is in parts deeper than the North Sea, and is a tidal sea loch, which provides varying currents and visibility in which to train. These conditions provide perfect and real conditions in which to learn to pilot an industry-standard ROV.

The Centre’s internationally renowned courses attract hundreds of students each year – a proportion of these are self-funded students who use the course to retrain in the subsea sector.  A significant number of these individual students come from an ex-military background so The Underwater Centre identified the show as the ideal opportunity to showcase the benefits of working as an ROV pilot technician.  General Manager Steve Ham adds;

“Oil and gas companies now need to drill at ever increasing depths to extract hydrocarbons and ROVs play a vital role in this process,” he said.

“This year, in particular, has seen a significant increase in demand by industry for well-trained ROV pilot technicians, to which the Centre has responded, by increasing the number of courses it offers.   We work closely with the subsea industry to ensure that our courses train candidates to the standards required byindustry.

“The ROV industry provides an excellent career choice, including worldwide travel and lucrative earnings, and our courses attract students from across the globe. Recent market research which we carried out showed that the average time for our students to find work was less than three months.

“We are delighted to be taking a stand at the iconic Leuchars airshow.  It will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the importance of the ROV sector, as well as targeting people who are looking to retrain and move into the oil and gas sector.”

The Underwater Centre provides an in-depth seven-week training programme, comprising a four week electronics module and three weeks working ‘hands-on’ with the Centre’s live remotely operated vehicles. The Centre’s ROV facilities include dedicated cabins, launch and recovery systems and a dedicated engineering and electronic workshop.

The Underwater Centre is also the only training centre in the world that offers the full range of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) commercial diving qualifications in air and mixed gas diver training, from HSE SCUBA to HSE closed bell diving.

As well as the seawater dive site with a large range of underwater structures and facilities, The Underwater Centre has a1.5million litre indoor training pool, purpose built welding bays, private pier, three barges with wet bell and closed bell training facilities, fully equipped lecture rooms and accommodation for up to 49 students.


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