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Premium Industry Package
A visit to an Armed Forces oil and gas fair proved to be life changing for former soldier and NDT technician Jason Mutch. The 27 year old was considering his options after making the decision to leave the Army after five years, when he visited a stand occupied by The Underwater Centre.
Introduction to Commercial Diving Careers Day
‘I attended an Introduction to Commercial Diving Careers day a month later, and it was then that I knew it was going to be the career I wanted. I found out I had been awarded the funding in the December, and I started on the 13-week Premium Industry Package in April 2013.
‘I was already very keen to pursue a career in diving, so was always going to do it, but had I not received the funding it would have been a bit more of a struggle to get the money for the course. It made my chance of becoming a diver come a lot sooner.’
Service as a Soldier
On leaving school, Jason knew he was not cut out for a career that involved sitting behind a desk all day: ‘I decided to get a trade, so I joined the Army to become a mechanic in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME),’ he says. ‘I thoroughly enjoyed my service as a soldier and mechanic serving in operations in Canada, Kenya and Afghanistan; however after five years I decided the time was right to leave as I was missing seeing my children grow older. When I left the Army, I trained for a career in non-destructive testing (NDT), which I used as a stepping stone to diving.’
Jason completed the Premium Industry Package, which includes HSE SCUBA, surface supplied and surface supplied top up, as well as a subsea construction course and a preparatory underwater inspection-NDT course, which allowed him to call on his experience from his previous job: ‘The training was difficult at times, but with the right attitude and determination I passed all my exams first time. The instructors at The Underwater Centre are patient and understanding. They know that everyone is at different stages in life experience, so some pick things up quicker than others.
Gaining confidence as a commercial diver
‘At first, I was not a very confident diver and was not 100% sure of the equipment – the whole experience seemed very alien to me. However, the instructors at the Centre helped me overcome all of that and now, with the correct amount of training and on job experience, I totally trust the equipment and people who are looking out for me topside.’
Since graduating, Jason has successfully completed the Diver Medic Technician (DMT) course and the 3.1U, which allows him to become an inspection diver offshore. He has also completed the commercial endorsement for RYA Level 2 Powerboat and an OPITO rigging/banksman slinger course.
He has also worked continuously in a variety of different diving jobs, from inshore inspection jobs to offshore with Stork Technical Services. He is currently working in Geneva, Switzerland, on a four-month diving contract for South West Services after learning of the post through his continued contact with The Underwater Centre*.
‘I enjoy being, and want to be, challenged and put to the test. The great thing about this career is that you’re always working with new teams of people and doing a variety of jobs. Each challenge is different and no job is ever the same as the last. All the experience you gain from one job improves your skills to make you a better diver for the next job.
‘My next step is to attend a mechanical dive technician’s course and, once I have gained enough experience, I wish to attend my mixed gas closed bell course so that I can become a saturation diver,’ says Jason.
‘It is very hard leaving family behind when you have a job elsewhere, but it just makes the time at home more important to do fun things. My time at home is spent with my wife and two children, and doing many things from swimming to nature walks and cycling. I also enjoy spending time out on my motorcycle.
‘As well as being exciting and varied, the money and the opportunities for travel are very attractive. This is definitely my dream job. I would advise anyone wanting to go into commercial diving as a career to do their research fully before embarking on the training, as it is a very challenging and demanding job that requires the right person and attitude to succeed. However, it is worth everything.’
Read the full article originally published in Summer Courses4Forces, page 50.