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Passionate about training

Published:  30 June, 2015

National Hyperbaric Centre’s training department offers a variety of industry-respected diver and subsea training courses designed to meet the needs of a range of clients throughout the diving, renewable and oil & gas industries. Its aims are to improve the standard of subsea safety worldwide. ODEE reports.

The National Hyperbaric Centre was originally built in 1987 sponsored by the UK Government to provide a research centre for the subsea industry as well as a provider of diver medical support and hyperbaric lifeboat reception. The Centre told ODEE it is passionate about improving diver safety and progressing safe and efficient subsea operations across all related industries, highlighting that it has been a pioneering establishment and a centre of expertise for the Subsea and Diving industries ever since it establishment.

Subsea and diver-related training has always been a part of the Centre’s service offering, but really came into fruition when the Centre was sold off in 1989 to a commercial business and subsequently to independent owners. As the diving and UK Oil & Gas industry developed and rapidly expanded throughout the 90s, the requirement for trained and competent personnel increased. National Hyperbaric Centre has had continuous involvement throughout the years with diving and safety regulatory bodies to develop and promote the need for in-depth training within the commercial diving industry often in relation to incidents and accidents within this dangerous environment.

The NHC training portfolio developed from only a few courses, to a full range of over 25 courses run throughout the world, offering a variety of personnel across a range of industries the chance to develop and enhance their skills and competence.

NHC’s broad portfolio of courses range from familiarisation courses designed for people looking to gain a better understanding of the subsea industry, to technical/specialist courses which offer those with years of industry experience the opportunity to further their careers and increase their knowledge, gaining a highly regarded accreditation. It also offers a range of entry level courses such as Assistant Life Support Technician or Dive Technician, which provide candidates with the necessary skills and knowledge to embark on a new career path. A full range of medical courses have been developed to include intensive practical learning experiences within realistic environments - best preparing candidates for a real-life emergency situation.

It works closely with organisations such as IMCA (International Marine Contractors Association) and IOGP (International Association of Oil & Gas Producers) to help develop our courses and ensure it stays ahead of industry requirements. NHC told ODEE that it is continuously developing new courses alongside leading professionals at the forefront of the subsea sector. During 2014, NHC said it released two brand new, industry-first courses – Introduction to Subsea Isolations and ROV System Auditing & Assurance.

NHC conducted a study into diver safety looking particularly at reports of diving incidents regarding unplanned pressure releases and subsequent injuries during projects, and presented a successful paper highlighting statistics and details of past injuries and incidents, which many feel, with better knowledge, could have been prevented. This study sparked the development of the Introduction to Subsea Isolations Course which provides all personnel involved in the planning and delivery of subsea projects with the knowledge and ability to help minimise risks; enhancing diver safety when working near potential sources of stored energy. This course has been successfully run globally with many major diving contractors recognising the need for safety within this hazardous workplace.

Fully functional saturation diving complex

The main facility is based in Aberdeen, Scotland and houses a fully functional saturation diving complex which has had a long-standing importance as part of the emergency response procedure for many diving contractors operating in the North Sea. The system mirrors that of one found within a diving support vessel and NHC regularly conducts various manned and unmanned trails of equipment and procedures ensuring functionality of equipment or competence of a dive team within a controlled environment prior to a project being taken offshore. The facility is also regularly used during a variety of our training courses, giving students hands-on experience with the same equipment and set up they will encounter ‘on the job’. Having access to this facility during training courses provides students with a unique learning experience which many training establishments cannot offer.

The NHC has now expanded to offer diver and subsea training in worldwide locations. It has recently opened an office and permanent training facility in Singapore which enables it to provide training to the Asia-Pacific region, and is also able to schedule bespoke courses anywhere in the world.

Its course schedule for 2015 is available to view online at: www.nhctraining.com

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