Tyneside offshore training providers AIS expand with multi-million pound Lincolnshire base

AIS Training hopes to attract more than 15,000 trainees a year through the doors of its forthcoming Immingham centre, in the Humber region

From left: Charlie Guthrie from AIS, Katie Hedges from CATCH, Dave Bowyer from AIS, Emma Toulson, Humber LEP and Chris Duffill from North East Lincolnshire Council
From left: Charlie Guthrie from AIS, Katie Hedges from CATCH, Dave Bowyer from AIS, Emma Toulson, Humber LEP and Chris Duffill from North East Lincolnshire Council

North Tyneside’s AIS Training is expanding with a new facility in Lincolnshire, which is set to launch in three months time.

The multi-million pound centre is the first outside of the North East for AIS, which opened its 20,000 sq ft North Shields base last summer.

The firm’s latest venture, which is expected to receive public funding support, will be based at the HCF CATCH training centre near Immingham.

HCF CATCH provides training to the energy, engineering and renewables industries in the Humber region.

AIS expects more than 15,000 trainees to pass through the centre’s doors each year — predominantly heading for the offshore wind sector.

The centre, which will become approved by wind industry bodies such as RenewableUK and the Global Wind Organisation, is due to deliver safety and competency courses for those working in, or entering, the global wind industry.

Dave Bowyer, director of training and education at AIS, said: “North East Lincolnshire and the wider Humber sub-region is widely acknowledged as being at the heart of the fast-growing offshore wind industry so Immingham was our first choice when deciding where to locate our brand new multi-million pound renewable energy training village.

“Predictions suggest that the renewable energy sector will require 70,000 new jobs over the next 10 years and finding the right people with the right skills to fill these jobs remains a key challenge for the industry.

“AIS Training has an exceptional record of helping people into work by developing competent and talented workers with the appropriate skill sets for industry. We see enormous potential for Immingham to be the global leader in renewable energy skills and competency training worldwide and we are very excited to help the city fulfil its potential.

“Working in the wind sector requires very specific skills such as inspecting and repairing wind turbine blades at eye-watering heights. Our training puts industry-skills such as working at height in context for wind professionals so that when they go into the field they are well equipped to cope with any eventuality.”

Once completed the centre will include a 30-metre high wind turbine tower, a climbing and rescue platform, and 12 stations that feature vertical fall-arrest safety systems, a mock nacelle and three technical engineering areas.

As they do at the North Shields facility, AIS’s team will recreate realistic training scenarios to prepare people for the hazardous conditions on a wind turbine.

Further proposals include the development of a survival pool and innovation and training hub during 2015/16.

Katie Hedges, interim chief executive officer of HFC CATCH, added: “We are delighted to attract such significant investment to CATCH. It’s 10 years since we launched the facility and this major investment is testament to our growing importance in the preparation of tomorrow’s workforce.

“AIS is a proven company with an international reputation for excellence – it’s great to have them here.”

Angela Blake, director of Economy and Growth for North East Lincolnshire Council, also welcomed the North Tyneside company’s move into the area.

She added: “The project will make a significant contribution to our objective of making the Humber the UK’s Energy Estuary and will ensure that adults already in the workforce, and young people seeking a career in the offshore wind industry, are fully equipped with the skills they need.”

AIS Training is part of the AIS Group which incorporates recruitment, manufacturing, project management and software development businesses.

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