A global engineering company has launched a new partnership with Blackpool and the Fylde College to save time and travel for offshore workers.
The deal between Swedish based firm Atlas Copco and the college means professionals who work on bolted mechanical joints on gas and oil rigs will no longer have to travel large distances to renew their required professional accreditation every three years.
Atlas Copco delivers the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) Mechanical Joint Integrity Standards accreditation and has installed a training rig at Lancashire Energy HQ at Squires Gate to meet the needs of offshore workers.
The company plans to begin offering a similar course specifically for the wind turbine sector from the site in the near future.
Don Harvie, operations manager at Lancashire Energy HQ, said: “I’m really excited to be partnering with Atlas Copco, a world leader in this field.
“This will only help further establish Lancashire Energy HQ as a destination for those who wish to work in the growing energy sectors – or those who need to renew their professional certification.
“As well as meeting the college’s ambition to work with key businesses, this partnership will bring professional engineers into Blackpool which should boost the local economy.”
The ECITB accreditation must be renewed regularly to ensure bolting personnel have up-to- date knowledge of hazards, health and safety aspects and good working practices.
Nigel Hollowell, from Blackpool, works for engineering supplier PD and MS and was among the first to undertake his reaccreditation.
He said: “This will be great news for everyone who lives in the North of England and works in the industry as I know people dread having to go to Aberdeen to renew their accreditation at the moment. Blackpool will really benefit from this.
“I’ve worked in the Irish Sea and across the Atlantic and this accreditation must always be up-to- date before you can work offshore anywhere.
“Blackpool’s so handy for people working in the industry because it’s just down the road from Fleetwood Nautical Campus where you can do your survival refresher training at the same time – and a lot of people fly out from Blackpool Airport to work anyway.”
Paul Faulkner, Business Development Manager from Atlas Copco, said the installation of the training rig was just the beginning of an ongoing partnership.
He added: “We’re happy to get this partnership with the College off the ground as we see real benefits to being able to work with Lancashire Energy HQ.
“We’re already pleased with what we have here and are looking at adding the ECITB course for the wind turbine sector to what we offer in the near future.
“We are also looking at what other equipment we can give the College and to see where we can extend this partnership even further.”