Photo by Neil Denham

UK Total Solutions (UKTS) has launched the world’s first training programme to assess the competency of operators working at height.

The Trade Rope Access Competence Certification (TRACC) will be delivered from the company’s Team Valley-based Oil, Gas, Renewables and Decommissioning Academy, which was established earlier in the year, following a six-figure investment.

After gaining accreditation from EAL, a specialist engineering awarding body, the programme will be provided to trainees passing through its academy; upon completion those that succeed will be able to prove they are capable of carrying out complex trade work at height. 

The academy, which was created thanks to a strategic partnership between UKTS and Gateshead College, equips trainees with the competencies and qualifications required to complete projects utilising rope access – a skill in short supply due to a lack of investment in competence assessment over the last decade.

UKTS’ facility includes specialist equipment that allows trainees to carry out a range of trade activities including shot blasting, coatings and welding at height. Training is provided by rope access specialists who, having worked for the majority of blue-chip oil and gas companies, fully understand the specific tasks required in the industry.

A large number of people are expected to pass through its academy each year, which is open to anyone, regardless of experience.

Mick Flaherty, managing director at UKTS, said: “Until now, training providers have only offered courses that certify the participant is competent in rope access – not that they can actually do their job at height.” 

“By ensuring that individuals who are, or hope to be, working in industry are equipped with the skills to carryout complex work whilst using rope access techniques, employers in the region can significantly improve their service provision.

“The decommissioning market will be a large benefactor of this innovative training programme; it is estimated that work in this sector, which is heavily reliant on rope access, will increase dramatically in the coming years.

“TRACC will also help many of our unemployed trainees, who have been referred to us by Job Centre, to differentiate themselves from others looking for work – we expect it will play an important role in hundreds of our graduates securing employment.”