Vicky conquering her fear in AIS Training's state-of-the-art sea survival pool
Female oil and gas workers are a rare breed, with female scaffolders even scarcer, but Vicky Welch is hoping to become both with the help of AIS Training.
North Shields-born Vicky, aged 29, is currently a freelance, fully-qualified Part 2 scaffolder working for Consice Scaffold Solutions on major projects in London like King’s Cross refurbishment, Canary Wharf’s Crossrail and the Pall Mall Deposit Building. One of only six other qualified female scaffolders in the UK, Vicky has now set her sights on an offshore career.
Scaffolding skills are much in-demand offshore and, with more than seven years’ experience in the construction sector, Vicky is hopeful of securing a job. She has just passed all of her mandatory offshore training at AIS Training’s 20-acre-flagship training village in Newcastle, including combined BOSIET and MIST.
Vicky said: “I’ve always wanted to go offshore but to be honest the water aspect of the training scared me. I couldn’t bear the thought of being submerged underwater upside down. Now I’ve finally come to terms with this fear I’m determined to get all my certs. The idea of working offshore really appeals. As well as better pay rates, the lifestyle is perfect for me as I’m used to working away from home and I’m attracted by the strict health and safety regime.
“There are only six female scaffolders in UK construction so I doubt there are any working in the offshore oil and gas industry – I would be the first. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest as I’m used to working in a male environment. The banter is great and, once you prove yourself capable, men tend to treat you with respect.
“My dream is to become an advanced scaffolder and expand my skills, eventually going into teaching and counselling to help others. For now, I really want to take on a new challenge in an offshore scaffolding role and AIS Training has been brilliant in helping me. The instructors really know their stuff and the facilities are first-class. Even my biggest fear - the underwater survival training - was OK with AIS. The instructors ensure you’re fully briefed beforehand and know exactly what to expect. Whatever happens with my offshore career, I’ll certainly be coming back to AIS for all my training needs in the future.”