The significant gap in the skills market for the offshore wind industry has prompted marine solutions company, Offshore Marine Management (OMM) to launch a new initiative aimed at training ambitious young people to work offshore in the energy and telecommunications markets.
The Offshore Marine Academy will take eight trainees through a year long scheme where they will gain the necessary qualifications to enable them to work offshore through a variety of courses at the Academy offices in Bristol, as well as courses run by specialised training institutions around the UK.
The trainees, aged between 18 and 25, are expected to come from coastal communities around the UK, and will be selected on the basis of their previous interaction and experiences within the offshore environment. Applications open in June and the training will begin in September.
As well as the basic health and safety accreditations, they will gain a comprehensive knowledge in areas including commercial diving, ROV (remotely operated vehicle) training, jointing and engineering, cable installation, marine energy, hydrographic survey, navigation, and welding.
OMM Managing Director, Rob Grimmond, said the Academy had come about through an increasing demand for skilled personnel coupled with the lack of new people entering into the offshore sector, creating a significant gap in the skills market.
"On this basis, the Academy will be able to guarantee a sustainable supply of quality personnel to its associated companies, notably Offshore Marine Management, and its clients," he said.
Over the course of the year, the trainees will be placed offshore on working vessels to gain first-hand experience of operational projects in the marine field. This will open the door to the real world of an offshore career where they can utilise their newly gained skills, and most importantly help them to decide which area of the offshore sector they are most suited to.
"While the idea of working offshore is alluring for many, this programme is intensive and highly demanding for trainees, requiring long periods away from home in often rough and potentially dangerous conditions offshore," he added.
"It will help people determine if this is the type of challenge they are really seeking, and if so, where their main interests lie. Its tough but the rewards can be very appealing."
Upon graduation, some trainees may choose to join the industry workforce directly, while others may decide to progress their professional skills set into more specialised areas of expertise.
The ambition of the Offshore Marine Academy management is to grow it into a benchmark institution, offering increased opportunities to more people around the UK. It will focus on the reality of the offshore renewable energy industry, progressing its training in line with the rapid growth and advancement of this sector.
If young people would like to find out more about the Academy, or apply for the first intake, they can visit www.offshoremarineacademy.com.