FROM DOLE QUEUE TO BEST CHRISTMAS EVER

Paul Frithís kids will be spoilt rotten this Christmas thanks to his new well-paid offshore job - but things could have turned out very differently.



Paul Frithís kids will be spoilt rotten this Christmas thanks to his new well-paid offshore job - but things could have turned out very differently after he was made redundant earlier this year. The 31-year-old from Wallsend lost his factory job of ten years in January after the company closed down in 2009. With no qualifications and few local job opportunities on offer, Paul was worried for the future of himself and his family - a wife and three young children.Paul was desperate and even turned to his local MP to see if money was available to help him retrain. But eventually things took a dramatic turn for the better when Paul managed to secure funding from a local employment agency to enrol on a rope access course with Advanced Industrial Solutions (AIS) at its new 7,000 square foot bespoke training centre in North Shields. Paul said: ďWith three young children and a wife to support I knew I had to find work quickly. I had lots of friends who worked offshore and it was something Iíd always fancied but just didnít know where to start. It was a friend who recommended I approach AIS for help and I havenít looked back since.ďAfter successfully completing a rope access course to enable me to work at height Ė a skill thatís essential for offshore jobs Ė I decided to complete an insulation course with AIS. Itís the only course in the world which provides a fast-track qualification as a trained insulator for the oil and gas sector.ďIt can be difficult to get your foot in the door offshore, as itís often a catch 22 situation, with companies demanding offshore experience before offering you a job. But it was almost an overnight transformation once I had the AIS insulation qualification under my belt. Itís approved by OPITO, the leading training body for the oil and gas sector and almost immediately I had companies ringing and emailing me. Within one week of completing the qualification I had a job offer from RBG working offshore from Aberdeen as an insulator. ďWorking offshore has completely transformed my life. As well as earning ten times as much as I did before, my job is really varied and I have two weeks at home every month with my family before I have to return to work. Itís so different to working dawn to dusk everyday in a factory. ďI canít thank AIS enough. They have been so much more than a training company to me Ė they helped me back into work when I thought things were hopeless. A few months ago I didnít know anything about the offshore sector but AIS has given me loads of help, pointing me in the right direction and providing loads of contact numbers and companies to approach. Iíd recommend anyone looking to work offshore to contact them.ĒManaging Director of AIS, Paul Stonebanks, said: ďWe are delighted to hear of Paulís success story, which Iím sure others will take comfort from in the current economic climate. At AIS we are committed to helping and supporting everyone who comes through our doors and clearly Paulís experience is testament to that. We wish him all the best for the future.ĒAIS, which was set up in 2006 by North Shields-born Paul Stonebanks, provides industrial training tailored to the offshore sector including working at height, insulation, rigging, health and safety and rope access training.The company also manufactures bespoke insulation products primarily for the offshore oil and gas sector globally and then installs them on-site using rope access due to the great heights involved. For more information in the company or the wide range of courses it offers please contact AIS on 0844 800 1810 or visit www.aisgroup.co.uk