£1.5 million grant for Underwater Centre
Fort William diving facility boosted with enterprise scheme cash
One of the only UK commercial diver training centres has been awarded a £1.5 million government grant.
The Underwater Centre in Fort William, Scotland has been awarded the money by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
The bursary makes up a significant part of the budget for the well-renowned centre’s £5 million expansion and refurbishment programme.
It will also be used to create 20 new jobs and safeguard the 53 already at the Centre, as well as increasing diver training capacity by around 100 per year.
Finlay Finlayson, of The Underwater Centre, said; “This redevelopment project will improve our existing facilities including the pier infrastructure, a new diver training barge and various other training amenities at the Centre.
“This will undoubtedly give us a great platform for future growth in Fort William.
“With a growing oil and gas industry and a new focus on marine renewables, improving the training for divers and ROV pilots is going to be fundamental for us to take real advantage of these opportunities.”
The Centre was purchased by current owner Finlayson in 2004, since when it has successfully established itself as a leading player in the commercial diver training market.
In operation since the 1970s, its main focus has traditionally been on the oil and gas sector but with the growing importance of marine renewables, including offshore wind, the Centre’s focus is evolving to reflect this in its training offer.
As well as commercial diver training courses for both air and mixed gas diving, The Underwater Centre also undertakes Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) training and sea trials.
Second edition of John Lamb's 1999 reference work
Innovative new BCD due to arrive in late 2017