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MaxGear Training info - RA Work Advice

RA Work Advice

For those in our “rope access industry” we often get the same questions from new comers, such as how can I get into this exciting industry or where do I get training and what kind of training do I need.

I asked a good friend of mine, Gordon Bisset a long time ago to help someone out who was new to our industry and he pointed out the following:

  1. You have to be able to move around the country at short notice or go offshore at short notice.
  2. You have to be able to deal with work instability at the start, until you are established on the rope access scene.
  3. The work you are doing is contract work, and fairly physical, at times boring and clients often are a complete pain.
  4. The more qualifications you get the more work you get, including Level 3 but not only. Also think about rigging, offshore survival, medicals, first aid and various NDT qualifications. It is expensive but it is important to get as much qualifications as possible.
  5. However if you get in with a good company then they tend to pay for 90% of qualifications for you and your training time.
  6. If you jump between companies a lot then you get a reputation as unreliable and only looking for the highest wages and you get into the hire and fire system which is not good long term.
  7. A 2 year contract may turn into a 2 month contract if the client cuts the budget, so you can never entirely rely on long term stability, but saying that some companies have contracts in oil refineries and offshore platforms that are over 6 years running.
  8. The best way to deal with starting in rope access work is to base yourself in a hub, like Houston, Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, NY, Toronto, where it is easy to travel from and there is a reasonable amount of local work, both in the onshore side and petro-chemical industry. Once you have the L3 cert. (takes about 3 years) and more relevant qualifications then you can stay in more remote places to suit your lifestyle. Companies will be willing to pay your travel and local costs if you are experienced can run teams and can rig well. Or if you are good at management then there are opportunities for project managers, without formal degrees especially if you are good at organizing teams and jobs.
  9. I would advise that it will be difficult to get any decent amount of rope access work as a shift worker (I may be wrong and often am) in the local area, so you would take ages to get the experience necessary to move up the ladder.
  10. I know many training companies and often they are very good. Some rope access companies tend to be quite conservative about employees and training (we generally tend to train our own) and as long as the training companies trains technicians the same way as your target employer I don’t see any problems with compatibility. For example a New Orleans rope access company trains quite differently so when we employ someone trained on the east coast, he has to have a day on the ropes to make sure he’s up to speed with the New Orleans rope access companies system.

Hope this clarifies some questions for those new to ‘our’ industry.

‘Igor Stomp’