North Shields training centre opens new Caribbean venture

North Shields-based firm Advanced Industrial Solutions (AIS) has established its first international branch in the Caribbean after gaining approval to run offshore training courses

Paul Stonebanks, managing director of AIS
Paul Stonebanks, managing director of AIS

Offshore experts from the North East will be heading to the Caribbean to help train workers in the oil and gas industry.

North Shields-based firm Advanced Industrial Solutions (AIS) has established its first international branch in the region after gaining approval to run offshore training courses.

The centre will be based in Trinidad and Tobago, within easy reach of the lucrative American and South American markets, and will replicate the company’s UK business model of providing skills and competency training.

The company is looking for riggers, rope access technicians, insulators, Compex mechanical and electrical personnel to work at its new Caribbean operation.

The site will offer recognised rigging qualifications, which equip people who want to work in the oil and gas industry with introductory skills and lifting techniques.

This will be followed by a further 20 courses, which are currently being developed to be rolled out over the next six months.

Paul Stonebanks, AIS managing director, said: “The geographical region surrounding Trinidad and Tobago has been producing oil and gas for almost 100 years and although current skills training in the area adheres to local standards, there is a real drive to bring skills and competencies in line with UK standards – which are globally acknowledged as being the highest quality available.

“We recognised the opportunity to mirror our success in the UK and bring our expertise in delivering UK standards in safety and training to a wider market place.

“The Trinidad and Tobago centre will be the first overseas AIS branch but not the last. We are currently looking at extending our brand throughout the UK and also into a number of other international markets.”

From its training facility at the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate in North Shields, AIS delivers oil and gas, industrial and fabric maintenance training programmes.

The complex includes classrooms, training halls, computerised workplace simulation areas and a 65ft steel tower where instructors teach people how to work safely on high platforms and on wind turbine developments.

Paul Attrill, group strategic development manager of the company, is among those who helped to establish the new facility in the Caribbean.

He said: “We have grown massively in North Shields. We have created about 30 to 40 jobs in the last year and are likely to create more in 2014.

“We were looking to expand our training model and the Caribbean was a great opportunity. It has a growing market, where all the big players are - like BP, Shell and British Gas.

“These companies are wanting local workers to be trained to internationally-recognised standards. That’s where we come in.

“It’s quite exciting for us to be expanding to international markets.”

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