It is not only bankers who are capitalising on the booming energy sector – redundant car industry and electronics workers are being sought to retrain as pilots for deep sea remotely operated vehicles and other sub-sea technical roles.
Steve Ham, general manager of The Underwater Centre in Fort William, which runs training courses for deep sea workers, said: “A great deal more oil is being extracted. To judge by the number of remotely operated vehicles [ROVs] being built, we predict several hundred new pilots will be needed a year for the foreseeable future.”
In August the International Marine Contractors’ Association forecast that another 2,000 watchkeepers to work across the bridge, deck and engine rooms of vessels and rigs, 1,000 survey and inspection workers, 1,200 ROV pilots and 800 divers and related workers would be needed by 2010.
Mr Ham said that “well-trained people with technical backgrounds” from the motor and electronics industries were ideally placed to retrain as ROV pilots. He added that there had been a huge increase in applications from professionals who wanted to train to change career in the past year. He said that candidates were attracted by good employment prospects, foreign travel, good work/ life balance – a common working pattern would be four weeks on and four weeks off – and decent money.
Pay for commercial divers starts at £120 a day for unskilled work, rising to more than £1,000 a day for skilled mixed-gas divers working offshore. For ROV pilots, pay ranges from £150 to £450 a day, with salaries of up to £60,000.
© 2008 - Times Online