VULCAN Training & Consultancy trains people working across various fields, including the oil extraction industry and in the construction and operation of offshore and on shore wind farms. The center is located in Szczecin and opened its doors in February 2018.
Just two years into its activity VULCAN became one of the largest training provider in the region. How did this idea come?
I have been working in the offshore industry since 2006, initially as a dynamic position officer and in 2014 I became captain. As I was going through training in my early days, I wondered why we don’t have something similar in Poland. Ever since, I steered my career towards building a training center - you see, it was not something created in two years, rather something I started to think about way back in 2006.
As a seaman I attended training courses regularly and also worked as an instructor in Canada, training special forces and the military. I became Instructor in Maritime Academy training centre to train proficient in survival craft and firefighting and from there on it was just a matter of gathering the necessary funds.
What is the extent of your operations presently?
We have 5 full time instructors and collaborate with another 10 freelancers when we need assistance from outside. This gives our permanent team a chance to rest, because training every day at full capacity can easily lead to burn out.
Facility wise, we have our own swimming pool, HUET simulator, fire polygon, a wall for working at heights and several conference rooms. Together with Hotel VULCAN we have a complex that can offer practically unlimited possibilities of cooperation.
I am keen to offer the highest standards, every single detail matters in my book - in the locker rooms for instance we use special materials for high humidity. We also plan to install PV panels on our roof because we use a lot of energy. Soon we will become a green island, that is our goal.
I do not see much opportunity to grow in oil & gas because the sector is fairly closed and not many new people will join. Wind on the other hand has not yet reached its peak - I expect about 20,000-30,000 new people to go into this sector in the coming five to six years.
Do you have the capacity to train this many people? How many can you bring up to speed throughout a year?
We can train all of them, no doubt. As long as the wind industry keeps growing the number of training centers will do the same. There are already a few new ones in the Eastern part of the country and we ourselves are looking at opening another location in the Three-city area (Gdansk, Gdynia, Sopot).
What we want to do next is open a brand new training center in the southern part of Poland which is a known for its coal. When mines start shutting down thousands of people will lose their jobs here, but the north will need more and more workers to keep up with wind development.
The courses we offer now cover basic emergency response and basic technical trainings they typically last six days - afterwards it is up to their mentors to turn them into experts. The idea with this competence center in Silesia is to train people thoroughly for six full months, which should be enough for them to comfortably switch to the new sector.
Do you already have a sense of how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect your business and the sector?
Our government hopes things will settle in a few weeks but I think it will be a matter of months, especially since in Poland it has been spreading very slowly (we still have under 3000 cases). The longer this takes the more the economy will bleed.
Unemployment is now less than 5,5% but it will likely go up to 10-11%. We will probably go back to an employers’ market, as opposed to recent times when unqualified people would show up expect high pay slips.
Given the circumstances do you plan to reduce the number of your employees?
No, the plan is to keep all our employees on board - we can survive for several months with the funds we set aside. Hotel VULCAN is now closed but we are trying to think of ways to put it to use in the interim.
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