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County Durham emergency response training centre for offshore workers takes major step forward with construction of new helideck

County Durham emergency response training centre for offshore workers takes major step forward with construction of new helideck


A County Durham centre which trains offshore workers in emergency firefighting has reached a major milestone after completing construction of a new helideck structure.

The centre, which is a joint venture between the UK’s leading energy sector training provider, 3t Training Services and Vital Fire Solutions (VFS), the trading arm of County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS), opened late last year to deliver many of the key training courses required for offshore firefighters.

Now the centre has finished construction of a new mock helideck structure, which will enable it to deliver the full portfolio of emergency response courses once it is approved by OPITO (the training body for the oil and gas industry).

The structure, which has been built by local headquartered company, Esh Construction, incorporates a mock offshore platform rig with full size Helideck, helicopter simulator and structures to mirror those on an offshore installation.

Construction of the helipad, a two metre steel structure with two access staircases, took 12 weeks and through the responsible procurement of a local supply chain, more than £230,000 was re-invested with Durham-based businesses. The project also required mechanical and electrical works to provide a suitable water supply for training exercises and street lighting for the perimeter of the helipad.  

Training in this type of setting makes the experience extremely realistic and prepares people for the real thing, ensuring delegates can learn in what feels like a real-life situation.

Emma Howorth, General Manager for England at 3t Training Services, said: “This is 3t’s third emergency response training facility in the UK and our second in North East England.

“We are focussed on bringing increased choice and more locations to our clients and this centre delivers just that. It is extremely convenient for the many offshore workers and companies in the Teesside area who can now train much closer to home, as well as perfectly complementing our new Teesside Training Centre, which opened recently.

“Adding this new helideck means as soon as we receive OPITO approval we will be able to offer courses such as Helideck Emergency Response Team Member (HERTM) and Helideck Response Team Leader (HERTL), which are critically important to offshore safety.

“Essentially any course you need for offshore emergency response, we can offer it. As well as being key to safety, emergency response certificates are highly desirable for many employers in the oil and gas sector, and can complement any offshore worker’s CV.  This facility will provide an important resource for the North East of England and will no doubt attract people to the area from much further afield.”

Vital Fire Solutions Operations Manager Paul Burlison said: “A lot of hard work has taken place over the past year to get this exciting project to where it is now.

“This is a brilliant opportunity for ourselves and the great team at 3t Training Services and one that will benefit not just the offshore sector but also the wider North East economy. We can’t wait to start offering courses soon.”

David Player, Contracts Manager from Esh Construction, said: “As a local contractor, we are proud to play a part in providing a new training facility for offshore emergency response firefighters.

“The project enabled us to support local, with three apprentices undertaking training on the scheme and over 50% of the project spend re-invested within County Durham. It also provided an opportunity to support a local grassroots football team through the sponsorship and purchase of kits for the Under 9’s team.”

Read the latest issue of the OGV Energy magazine HERE

Published: 15-11-2023

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