Safety first as Wise looks to oil and gas sector

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A COMPANY providing health and safety training is launching a new qualification aimed at the oil and gas industry, following a 50 per cent increase in sales over the last year due to an increased demand for its e-learning courses.

Hull-based Wise Global Training opened a new training facility, in partnership with STS Business Services, at The Nightel building within the Humberside Airport complex in November, in preparation for the launch of its NEBOSH International Technical Certificate in Oil and Gas Operational Safety – a universally accepted qualification. It is also currently in discussions with agencies about adapting this course to encompass the wind turbine sector.

Massive offshore wind farms are due to be built off the Yorkshire coast over the next decade as the UK pushes towards its 30 per cent target for renewable energy by 2020. In the spring, planning applications will be considered for the proposed Green Port Hull development, which would see engineering company, Siemens, create a £210m facility on Alexandra Dock to manufacture and assemble offshore wind turbines.

Peter Donoghue, managing director of Wise Global Training, said the wind turbine sector “is going to play a significant role in the re-generation of this region in the next few years. We aim to take a prominent and pioneering role in helping to stimulate that economic activity.”

Wise Global Training delivers health and safety training to businesses and individuals via classroom-based learning and e-learning, with an 80 per cent emphasis on businesses. It has seen overall sales increase by 50 per cent over the last 12 months. Turnover for the year to the end of January 2012 is expected to be just over £200,000.

E-learning is the “mainstay” of the business, said Mr Donoghue, adding: “We are finding that more and more businesses are taking up the opportunity to use our e-learning courses as a means of educating their key staff members of health and safety matters. This is because, as well as being far less expensive than traditional classroom training, it does not require staff to be away from their work for days at a time, it’s flexible to fit around any time frame, it’s accessible 24/7, and it’s least disruptive to business activities.”

The company envisages taking on five staff in the coming year, adding to its six-strong head count, said Mr Donoghue. Pre-tax profit is estimated to be £15,000-£20,000 for the year to the end of this month, said Mr Donoghue, who explained that investment last year was high. “This will be a completely different year. We are starting to take advantage of the hard work and investment we have put in up until now.”

He said a 20 per cent profit margin is expected for the next financial year: “I would expect turnover to be about £300,000-£350,000 next year.”

Mr Donoghue said: “We are now dealing with businesses abroad because we’ve got our e-learning side.” Enquiries have been coming in from English-speaking communities in Norway, Sweden, Cyprus, Malta and Libya, he said.

He added: “The other opportunities we are looking at include driver training as a possible diversification. We also have some very big enquiries in the health sector that we are looking at.”

Wise Global Training and STS Business Services, which specialises in offshore health and safety advice, formed a consortium in mid 2011.

The new qualification for the oil and gas sector is due to launch as a result of this partnership at the beginning of February. Referring to the consortium’s new training facility at Humberside Airport, Mr Donoghue said: “We couldn’t have a better location for serving the oil and gas industry.” The airport acts as the heliport for serving and maintaining 60 -70 oil and gas rigs.

Dave Green, managing director of STS Business Services, spoke about the consortium’s plans to embrace the renewables sector. He said: “We want to equip the people of Humberside with enough information, training and instruction to be able to work with Siemens and so on.”

suzan.uzel@ypn.co.uk