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HIAL and Orkney College UHI to offer firefighting training to maritime personnel

HIAL enjoys a strong reputation for the quality of its training across a range of operational areas, including fire safety training
HIAL’s programme will involve basic firefighting theory and practice under the tutorship of Orkney College UHI

A new training partnership has been formed between regional airport operator HIAL and Orkney College UHI in a move designed to provide lifesaving fire fighting training to maritime personnel across Orkney.

HIAL has teamed up with the College’s Maritime Studies department to create a training programme tailored for people working in fishing, marine renewables and the island’s ferries.

Training will be carried out at Kirkwall Airport, eliminating the need for companies to send their staff to the mainland for specialist fire safety training.

Initially, the programme will involve a basic three day course encompassing basic firefighting theory and practice under the tutorship of Orkney College UHI and experienced HIAL firefighting personnel. The training will be conducted at a purpose built training rig at Kirkwall Airport, which will offer realistic maritime search and rescue scenarios based on the internal layout of a ship, and use full personal and respiratory protection equipment.

The aim is to offer four courses per year with a maximum of eight students per course. Once the ground works and development of the training rig are complete, the first course should be available towards the end of this year. It’s hoped the training programme could be extended to other industry sectors, over time.

The new partnership was the brainchild of Mark Shiner, a lecturer in Maritime Studies at Orkney College UHI.

He said: “This is not just one course in isolation but is an expandable opportunity which allows us to provide new ratings and qualifications across several sectors. Four courses per year is just a start point and we hope the rig will be a resource that Orkney can be proud of. I have enjoyed working with HIAL staff who have a positive can-do outlook. Our overall aim at the Maritime Studies Department echoes that of the University of the Highlands and Islands, that people should not have to leave their communities to study. I think that this project achieves that.”

Graeme King, Fire Manager at Kirkwall Airport said: “HIAL enjoys a strong reputation for the quality of its training across a range of operational areas, including fire safety training. With one of the largest airport firefighting teams in the UK, our staff are trained to deal with a wide range of potentially life threatening scenarios. We are delighted to be working with Orkney College UHI to share this learning with the maritime sector, which plays an important role in the economy of the islands.

“The demand for this training programme has been very encouraging and we are already looking at developing the facility to include other industries. Given the cost of training staff on the mainland, it makes financial sense to provide this specialist training in Orkney, delivered by experienced local professionals.”

Issy Grieve, Assistant Principal of Orkney College UHI, said: “The development of the partnership between Orkney College UHI and HIAL, in order to provide local training within our islands, is major step forward in meeting local training needs. We will be able to provide high quality fire training to local people, not only in Orkney but across the North of Scotland.”

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