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What offshore work opportunities are there in commercial diving or as an ROV pilot now?



offshore work

As one of The Underwater Centre’s Student Advisors, a question I get asked a lot is what offshore work opportunities are there once students have completed their training as a commercial diver or an ROV pilot tech?

The drop in oil prices is obviously delaying investment plans at the moment, particularly in the North Sea; however there are opportunities in other fields outwith the oil and gas industry.

Offshore wind and the renewables sector

The renewables sector is expanding rapidly; 2015 saw the busiest year yet and there are many new offshore windfarm developments taking place right now, for example the Hornsea One Project from DONG Energy, with many others planned. A further 14 wind farms are to be commissioned off the coast of the UK before 2020. The government is aiming for a target of 25% of the UK’s energy to be provided by offshore wind by 2030. Take a look at the articles and offshore work opportunities available in Offshore Wind Energy Today.

Decommissioning and marine salvage

As decommissioning of older oil rigs and platforms in the North Sea continues, the marine salvage industry is going from strength to strength. Read more about current projects on the Decom North Sea website, including Norway’s announcement of the value of their decommissioning market, here.

A recent report from Douglas Westwood also predicts a decommissioning boom; with around 146 platforms being removed from the UKCS during 2019-2026, due to the age of the platforms; read the full article here.

Add to your CV and experience with more skills and tools training

If you are determined and focused to work as a commercial diver or ROV pilot technician you will discover there are more opportunities available to you than the media would lead you to believe.

Ensure the training you complete gives you valuable certificates and provides you with hands on experience in skills such as subsea tools; welding and burning, rigging and slinging, or bolt tensioning, for example.  Similarly, as an ROV pilot, certificates such as High Voltage or Working at Height, as well as more specific training, such as Titan 4 Manipulator Training, will all help.

You will find that these additional skills are what employers are looking for.

Current student feedback

Speaking to some of our recent students on our diving and ROV courses gives an indication of the demand from these different industries too. Traditionally our student base was predominantly those attracted to certifications to qualify to seek offshore opportunities in oil and gas; this is changing as we see many discovering work in renewables, marine salvage or harbour developments.

These students are coming to The Underwater Centre to make the most of the new opportunities being presented to them:

  • A group of closed bell students all working for a European company. The company are expanding their resources to ensure their staff have the skillset to be capable of decommissioning work in the North Sea. They are seeing demand and contracts for work in this area increasing.
  • Some students on our commercial air diving courses are involved in harbour developments in Scottish waters, including at Lerwick Port and the Bantry Harbor Development Project.
  • In the renewables sector, we had an interesting student working for a Dutch company which has grown exponentially to meet market demands. The student in question was training to further his skillset by attending our Fibre Optics training module so that he would be competent and confident to work as an ROV Superintendent.

So you can see that commercial divers and ROV pilot technicians don’t need to rely solely on the oil and gas industry.

Lorna MacPherson is one of The Underwater Centre’s Student Advisors. She and her colleagues are more than happy to answer any questions you may have about training just now. Get in touch with Lorna, Ingrid or Maggie if you have any questions about the opportunities available once you’ve completed your training; call +44 1397 703786 or email

Whether you're looking to start an exciting new career in diving, train as an ROV pilot technician, or your company wants to carry out vital subsea equipment testing or trials, our commitment to your needs is what makes The Underwater Centre, Fort William special.

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