Kimball Johnston is a Commercial Diving Instructor at the Marine Training Centre, which is part of the Holland College Waterfront Campus in Summerside.
The following information describes his background, his job, and details about the work opportunities in this field.
Q: Describe your own employment journey – background, training and employment?
A: “I am an Unrestricted Commercial Diving Supervisor, Diver Medic, and Red Seal Welder. I have 20 years of experience as a Boat Captain.
“I graduated from Holland College’s welding program in 1985 and from commercial diving in 1987. For the next 11 years, I worked for the Marine Atlantic Diving Unit. They were responsible for 27 large vessels all over Atlantic Canada and Eastern USA. From there, I started my own diving company, Amphibious Welding, and also purchased a lobster fishing business. I retired in 2013, which is when I started teaching at Holland College.”
Q: How many students are in the program?
A: “There are 18 students this year. Our student to instructor ratio is one of the best in commercial diver training. Instructors Ian Rodd, Eldon Murphy, Toby Arsenault and I have a wide range of knowledge, with a total of more than 100 years of experience in and around the industry.”
Q: What work opportunities are available after graduation?
A: “Holland College Commercial Diving graduates are very sought after. They find employment all over the globe, in many different fields within commercial diving. Some of our more recent graduates have found work in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, the Bahamas, Thailand, Australia, the Arctic, and of course right here on PEI. These divers are doing ship repair, salvage, aquaculture, archaeology, concrete restoration, and underwater welding.”
Q: Describe a graduate’s journey.
A: Andrew Cameron entered the program in 2014 after being released from the Canadian Navy. He says he took the program because he loved his work in the military as a ships’ team diver and wanted to pair it with the trade skills he learned as a hull technician.
“I enjoy being challenged as a commercial diver,” says Andrew. “Different challenges arise every day, whether you’re in the water, setting up gear, or fighting the elements of the weather.
“After graduating, I worked for Diversified Divers Inc. in Hazelbrook, PEI before moving to St. John’s, Newfoundland in 2015, where I worked as a commercial diver for a few different companies. After a slow winter in St. John’s, I moved back to the mainland to work for Diversified Divers Inc., repairing the Caribou ferry terminal. Then I joined Holland College as a Lab Technician.
“Sometimes, finding dive work can be a little difficult, but if you are a go-getter, there usually isn’t a lack of work,” says Andrew. “You have to be resilient, passionate, and willing to go wherever the job may take you.”
For more about the Holland College Commercial Diving program at 100 Water Street, Summerside, call 902-888-6485. Visit www.hollandcollege.com/programs/commercial-diving/.