Ellis is first to pass course

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A Wallsend woman has made history by becoming the first woman to complete an offshore passive fire protection course.

Ellis Matthewson, 22, successfully completed North Shields-based AIS’s passive fire protection qualification (PFP)

As well as the PFP course, Ellis has completed several other mandatory offshore training courses with AIS and now has a full raft of qualifications and skills to offer offshore employers.

She is currently contacting several major industry employers with the help of AIS.

Ellis said: “I’d always dreamed of a military career but that dream ended when I suffered a back injury after just 12 months of starting my Army job.

“A family friend worked offshore so I knew what the life entailed and it was definitely something that appealed to me.”

“After a bit of research I decided to train in offshore fireproofing and painting and blasting to give me the best chance of employment. I saved like mad during my army rehabilitation so I had the money to pay for training courses and enrolled with AIS.

“I know the offshore sector is predominantly male but that doesn’t faze me at all. I’ve got lots of male friends and also believe a woman can do a job just as well as a man – in some ways better.”

“Women tend to be more caring and empathetic and are much more team orientated. My ideal job would be working somewhere like Canada or Brazil in a painting and blasting role and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that AIS will help me to find it.”

Charlie Guthrie, marketing manager at AIS, is delighted to see the first woman on the company’s PFP course.

He said: “Unfortunately the offshore sector suffers from a massive gender imbalance and the industry - and AIS - is working hard to address this.

“There are numerous career opportunities available to anyone entering the global energy sector – regardless of gender – and it’s important to get this message across to young people looking for exciting and rewarding career paths.”