AIS is developing a new offshore survival centre to cope with the growing demand for training courses from the offshore industry.

The 20,000 sq ft training centre will be built next to AIS’s headquarters on the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate and will complement the company’s existing 120,000 sq ft learning facility, as well as its emergency fire training facility at Newcastle Airport - developed with its OTN partners.

Featuring state-of-the-art facilities including an environmental pool, fire training centre and lifeboat and davit system, the centre will train workers from the offshore oil and gas, wind and maritime sectors in how to cope in the event of an emergency. The facilities have been designed to provide an extremely lifelike setting where workers will learn survival techniques for emergency scenarios such as a helicopter ditching at sea, sea survival, escaping from a smoke filled environment and evacuating via a lifeboat.

The world-class centre will also include classrooms, changing facilities, a restaurant and meeting rooms with construction work expected to be completed by January 2014.

This new centre now means AIS will offer one of the world’s largest training portfolios for the offshore sector including industry-approved courses in rigging, rope access, painting and blasting, fire protection, electrical and mechanical engineering, as well as many more.

 Paul Stonebanks said: “We already have an exceptional record in getting people into work and maintaining their skills and this exciting new facility will provide a unique training experience within our learning village, as well as giving vital training to offshore workers.

“We are looking forward to further equipping offshore and maritime workforces with the safety skills and competencies they need. Nobody likes to think of accidents happening such as a helicopter crash at sea or a fire on an offshore installation but it’s vital that offshore workers are prepared for all eventualities and equipped with the skills and training needed to cope with such a situation.”

North Tyneside Council helped the company to establish the original offshore skills centre in 2009 and elected Mayor for North Tyneside, Norma Redfearn was one of the first to see the new centre, which is currently on schedule for a January 2014 opening. She said: “This new Survival Centre will be an outstanding facility and provides an enormous boost to the skills training we can offer here in North Tyneside. It also fits perfectly with our ambitious plans for the North Bank of the Tyne to become a Learning Village.”