New £2.5m offshore survival centre opens

Instructors working with trainees at the new AIS Offshore Survival Centre that has just opened in North Shields. GM045169
Instructors working with trainees at the new AIS Offshore Survival Centre that has just opened in North Shields. GM045169

A new £2.5m purpose-built offshore survival training centre that will support thousands of workers on how to survive in an emergency at sea, has opened in North Tyneside.

The new centre, on the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate, has been developed by AIS Training in response to customer demand from the booming energy and renewable industries.

It will allow delegates to learn every skill and competency required to work in the oil and gas, wind, maritime and heavy industry sectors.

The centre has already created 25 jobs, and there will be a further 25 in 18 months.

Featuring state-of-the-art facilities including a 4.5 metre deep environmental pool, fire training centre, Norwegian escape chute and lifeboat and davit system, the centre has been designed to provide an extremely lifelike setting where workers will learn survival techniques for emergency scenarios such as a helicopter ditching in the water, sea survival, escaping from a smoke filled REA and evacuating via a lifeboat.

AIS managing director Paul Stonebanks said: “We’re delighted to finally unveil our new £2.5m world-class offshore survival centre, which will help to truly cement the north east’s position as an accessible and affordable training location for the global oil and gas, wind and maritime industries.

“Nobody likes to think of accidents happening such as a helicopter crash at sea or a fire on an offshore installation but it’s vital that offshore workers are prepared for all eventualities and equipped with the skills and training needed to cope with such a situation.

“More than 6,000 delegates train with us every year in mandatory and optional industry-approved qualifications and competencies for the booming offshore energy market and this new facility enables us to provide both existing and new customers with all the training they need for their offshore careers.

“We are also looking forward to opening our brand new hotel for offshore workers in the next few weeks, which will provide an affordable accommodation option and a truly immersive training experience.”

AIS secured a £1.1m funding package from HSBC’s Tyne and Wear Commercial Centre and a £250,000 Let’s Grow grant from the Regional Growth Fund to support the development of its offshore survival training centre.