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Former military man’s oilfield career blasts off

A former anti-aircraft artilleryman is taking his next career step in oil and gas after leaving the army. 

Craig Halcomb, aged 33 from Southampton, is moving from an offshore roustabout role into painting and blasting after completing his OPITO painter blaster training with AIS Survivex.

Craig started his army career working in the Air Corp as a signal operative after leaving school and eventually ended up in the artillery anti-aircraft division, shooting down enemy fighter planes.

After the birth of his first daughter in 2013, Craig considered leaving the army to pursue an offshore career in oil and gas but changed his mind. He never stopped thinking about a career change though and eventually decided the time was right to make the leap into oil and gas earlier this year.

Craig’s friend, who already worked offshore, recommended AIS Survivex for all his training and Craig completed the Greenhand package at the Newcastle centre, which gives you all the basic skills to start an offshore career as a roustabout in the oil and gas industry.

Within just seven days of completing the training, Craig secured his first job with Bilfinger on the Elgin platform. After several months in the job, Craig is now keen to move into painting and blasting and returned to AIS Survivex to complete OPITO training. With his new OPITO Blaster Painter certificate under his belt, Craig has a new offshore blaster painter role already lined up for January.

Craig said:

“I have absolutely no regrets about changing careers and using AIS Survivex for all my training. The practical elements really prepared me for my offshore job and the instructors were brilliant. It’s clear everyone at AIS Survivex wants you to succeed and the entire team is there to offer a helping hand with everything you need.

“I used the interest-free finance option and it certainly helped make the decision to undergo the training much quicker – I didn’t need to save up! Once you secure work, the training can be completely paid for within two or three offshore trips so it’s a no brainer really.

“I travelled from Southampton and stayed in the AIS Survivex Hotel while doing my courses – which was also good and just around the corner from the training centre so very handy.

“Leaving the army and pursuing a new offshore career was the best decision I’ve ever made. I get the same amount of annual income for just six months working so can spend real quality time with my family. For anyone thinking about giving it a go – I say just do it. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.”