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Premium Industry Package

Reuben Bennett

Brought up in Bognor Regis, Reuben Bennett served in the Parachute Regiment (British Army) Airborne Infantry after leaving college; in this post he tells us about why he chose to leave the army for a career in commercial diving.

Make money doing something you enjoy

“I think the main thing that attracted me to commercial diving was the adrenaline factor, although the opportunity to travel was also a big factor.  I wanted to learn a new skill from scratch, something that I could make money from that I enjoyed doing.  I said I wouldn’t leave the paras for anything less than the same wage, and I make more than a private in the army now!”

Funding from Enhanced Learning Credits

“I found out about the Premium Industry Package at The Underwater Centre in Fort William on the Enhanced Learning Credits website.  Service personnel who are registered for Enhanced Learning Credits get some funding towards retraining when they choose to leave the forces for civvy street. I also attended a Career Transition Partnership workshop that proved to be very useful. I chose the course as it seemed the best one to get me started in my new career: I wasn’t disappointed as the facilities and the staff at the Centre exceeded my expectations. I feel I have all the tools I need to break into the subsea sector and be successful.”

The benefits of commercial divingdiver-4

“I’ve been able to take some of the skills I’ve learned from the army into commercial diving: being able to look after yourself, being able to fit in with any group, timekeeping, organisational skills, and being able to lead a group are all important in commercial diving.  I feel I have a lot more freedom in this job, although I’m self employed so I have to motivate myself to be professional.  Also I’m given a lot more trust and responsibility than when I was serving.  On the downside I have to do my own taxes and I don’t get fed 3 times a day!“The blokes I work with are top quality, you get to travel, but it can be a dangerous job.  I love the professionalism: all divers take a lot of pride in the job.  Every day is different.  I could find myself doing underwater welding, or carrying out a survey of a structure that is submerged, or cleaning jobs using different tools such as jet washers or hydraulic wire brushes.  The only downside for me really is if you’re having a bad dive, you might not be able to come up for hours, so you just have to get on with it.”

Have you got what it takes?

“It’s all about working hard as a team and pulling through, lazy divers don’t make it in this game!  If you don’t mind hard graft and have good problem solving skills, good with your hands and can listen to instructions then you probably have what it takes to be a commercial diver.  You should have a good level of fitness and a willingness to learn. Don’t think you’re going to be raking it in for the first couple of years you take what you can, but after that I’m told it improves. I plan to try and get offshore in the next two years and then I will save up for my saturation diving course.”

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