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THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY THRICE LUCKY!


It’s a true reflection of continued success when not once, twice but third time lucky I managed to catch my guests to glean a snap-shot of their quite remarkable rise to becoming a world leader


From the first occasion and thereafter I was greeted by an extremely professional and cheerful receptionist who could not have been more helpful if my quest for my ‘quarry’ for this interview, Karen, thank you (and I hope you’re having many happy miles in your new car).


Bear with me on this point – it speaks volumes when the ethos of professionalism and courtesy is omnipresent in a company – without further ado, I will continue…


HAPPY ANNIVERSARY HOTA! Not too shabby a story when you think it began with 3 people in a small rented office in the city centre of Hull 3 decades ago to now being an established World Leader of Training for the Offshore, Maritime, Renewable and Onshore Sectors with 44 employees, over 100 courses training on average 8000 delegates annually within 11 separate training streams.


Not to mention state-of-the-art training facilities and a charitable status with surplus funds being ploughed back into a very worthy cause.


TRADITIONALLY


It would seem fitting that traditionally for a 30th anniversary it is signified by a Pearl so it is with pleasure that I unveil two such gems and prise them out of their shells so I can bypass their modesty and say it as it is! I introduce to you Neiles Billany and Chris Robertson whom together with their colleagues allow this company to continue to be trailblazers in their field.


SNAP-SHOT


When I say snap-shot, I mean it, as time was brief when I caught up with Neiles literally before he started his daily pool test and Chris on his rare butty break!


18 www.windenergynetwork.co.uk


IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER Having been on call the previous night it was only right and proper Chris enjoyed that butty – as a professional firefighter for Humberside he had been called out to an incident during the night. Joining the company 12 years ago he goes on to tell me, initially as a survival technician, gradually working his way up the ranks to instructor, apart from his daily duties of teaching and assessing, he is now responsible for all fire and pool operations. No mean feat and testament to his tenacity!


Neiles story is certainly an intriguing one, hailing from Zambia and in his words not claiming to be a natural ‘water baby’ it would seem an anomaly now that his career has taken an extraordinary route. Working in the mines in Africa until 1977 whereupon his family moved to Hull, training as a commercial diver his career then led him to HOTA where he thrives and now has the responsibility of poolside, all equipment, stringent safety checks as well as working at the docks liaising with the harbour master– almost peripatetic in his role.


FACILITIES HOTA has come a long way in 30 years and now has 3 major sites in Hull, 2 on Malmo Road and 1 on Albert Dock.


The ‘Cullen Building’ named after the The Right Honourable Lord Cullen of Whitekirk purpose build survival centre with its 4.5 metre ambient 28 degree temperature deep training pool is home to the Helicopter Underwater Escape Trainer, another acronym HUET, but affectionately known to all as the ‘Dunker’…or to many before training commences their nemesis!


Lifesaving training within the dunker is a daunting prospect. This leviathan accommodates a maximum of 4


INTERVIEW


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