Long-term link with AIS Training helps Eric fulfill dream

One of our first ever delegates has seen his career grow alongside AIS Training’s meteoric rise.

Eric West, aged 55, from North Shields first visited AIS Training in 2010 when looking to change career to the offshore oil and gas sector.

After working in asbestos removal in the construction sector for more than 20 years and having lost two friends to asbestosis, Eric wanted to transfer his skills through AIS Training to a less dangerous, more lucrative career. His ultimate dream was to make his life much easier and continue saving money to buy a holiday home in Cyprus and eventually retire there with his wife.

Eric said: “When two of my close friends died from asbestosis around eight years ago, I knew I had to make a drastic change to my life and change careers. I have two sons and two grandchildren and I wanted to be around to see them grow older.

“At that time AIS had just invested in a new state-of-the-art industrial training centre in North Shields providing skills for the energy sector which made me think about an offshore career in oil and gas. As well as being able to use all of the skills I’d gained over the years, I believed an offshore career would make my life easier and give me the quality time with my family I was looking for.

“In my spare time when I wasn’t at work, I funded and completed several training courses with AIS Training to help me get offshore including sea survival, first aid, rope access and insulation application training. Within six months I managed to secure an offshore job working as a contractor.

“It was an incredibly scary time. I was changing my job, career and entire way of life. To make sure I was doing the right thing, I continued to juggle my existing job with any new offshore contracts. Two months later I finally handed my notice in and took the plunge with a new offshore career.

“I’ve never looked back. At first it was tough forging a totally new livelihood in oil and gas but I stuck it for several years, all the time continuing to add to my certificates at AIS Training with skills such as rigging and banksman.

“When a job came up installing a topside structure on the Borwin Beta converter platform in the German section of the North Sea in 2014, I decided to transfer to the fast-growing wind industry. With no wind experience, I knew I had to do something to make my CV stand out and once again turned to AIS Training for help.

“I undertook a 5-day Offshore Emergency Response Team Member (OERTM) training course with AIS Training to add emergency firefighting to my skill-set. This helped me to secure my first job in offshore wind. As the only person on my rotation with emergency response skills, I became an invaluable team member and it also put my name top of the list for any new potential contracts.

“I’ve now had three years of solid experience in offshore wind and have a strong track record with wind employers. 

“My long-term plan was always to do a less physically demanding job and have enough money and time to invest in a property in Cyprus. My new career has helped me achieve this. Although I had saved lots of money from my asbestos career, my new offshore career has helped me reach my goal. Last year I was finally able to buy a property in Cyprus with my wife. Because I only work ten months of the year, I am now able to spend lots of time with my wife and family holidaying in Cyprus.

“Throughout the past few years, I’ve always tried to think ahead. By investing in myself and looking to the long-term and what employers want from me, I’ve managed to forge out a successful offshore career.

“AIS Training has been with me all the way – helping me make the right decisions and delivering extremely professional training to enhance my CV.

“Like my own career, AIS Training has grown phenomenally during this time. Now AIS Training offers a 20-acre industrial training village in North Tyneside and a choice of more than 350 industry-approved courses to help progress my career. There’s also an easy to use online booking and career management service and two other training locations in the UK.

“AIS Training is a great North-East success story and I want to wish the company a very happy 10th birthday!”