First UK training course for fast-growing industrial drones market
19 Aug 2019
The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) has launched the UK’s first training course in the use of industrial drones.
The Industrial Drone Operations Training Course has been developed by oil and gas solution provider Texo Compliance with ECITB approval.
Its first intake will begin with a week’s training starting on 30 September this year at Texo’s Aberdeen base.
“Drones are increasingly common across engineering construction sites from monitoring and surveying to checking wear and tear on installations, such as offshore rigs and wind turbines," said ECITB chief executive Chris Claydon.
“The ECITB has responded to this major shift in working practices by created this new training standard to ensure that drones are used safely and competently in what can be hazardous and challenging environments."
Initial training in Aberdeen will be part of a four-stage programme including off-the-job training at an ECITB-approved centre and drone operations on a live industrial site with 30 logged flying hours required within three to 12 months of initial training.
The Texo-led course will be open to anyone who has attained Civil Aviation Authority permission for commercial operations and who meets all course requirements.
Drone regulation has been a public issue since the Gatwick incident that temporarily closed the site and is believed to have caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of policing costs.
The ECITB has created this new training standard to ensure that drones are used safely and competently in what can be hazardous and challenging environments
Chris Claydon, chief executive, ECITB
At the same time, industry interest in the use of drones in process environments deemed hazardous or costly for direct human intervention has increased. The UK Maritime and Coastguard Aagency has invested heavily in research into sea surveillance, with bidding underway for the project.
Oil and gas operators have had a particular interest in the potential value of drones but the ECITB says the new course will address a growing need in process sectors, including pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, renewables, nuclear and food.
In the last two years, says the ECITB, industrial use of drones has doubled within the UK.
Texo Compliance operations director Jamie Murphy commented: “Working in the UK and internationally with UAV operations, we see drones mitigating risks from work that would traditionally be done by a variety of personnel particularly at height and this now removes the human element from operations that were deemed high risk high potential.
“Gaining this ECITB award first in the UK underpins our commitment to being a technology-led and driven organisation.”