In 2014 following a report highlighting a deficiency in vocational training especially in NRAs, SRC, working alongside local resident groups, identified a specific area of need and secured funding from Dept of Communities.
The OCEANS programme offered NRA residents throughout the southern region basic offshore safety induction and emergency training to new entrants to the Offshore Oil, Gas and renewal energy industries, as well as essential life skills. It also improved local people’s educational qualifications, employability profile and increased self-esteem and confidence.
After an essential skills programme, residents undertook the BOSIET course, a 3 day residential offshore course in the National Maritime College of Ireland in Cork. This provided a basic knowledge of safety and emergency response procedures for working in offshore environments. Residents gained an understanding and awareness of the hazards encountered when working on offshore installations vessels and of the safety regime and management systems in place to control and mitigate hazards.
To assist and support residents the college provided, at no cost, a mentor, transport, accommodation and catering. Essential skills classes were held in local venues and at times suiting residents.
Since 2014, 64 residents have achieved BOSIET / MIST licenses and 21 residents secured employment- though not always in the sector.
The project increased the knowledge, skills and employability of local residents, built confidence, social networks and reduced feelings of isolation. Depending on their skills background, on completion of the OCEANS training, residents were job ready and able to fit into a wide range of roles within an offshore team – Deckhand, Roustabout or Roughneck.
To capture the impact of involvement, a variety of data sources, as part of a collaborative approach, were used including: evaluation forms which were completed by residents; data from one to one meetings; oral feedback from learners and members of the Residents Associations and the ‘usual’ college’s evaluation processes.
A major factor contributing to success was the community support in recruitment and monitoring of residents. The college also offered a flexible learning programme, supported by a mentor, in a conducive environment and assistance to residents in overcoming social barriers (especially accessibility and financial costs).