Spotlight: Ailin Bergetun
First Female ROV pilot in Omega Subsea
Ailin Bergetun decided to pursue her dreams, and in 2022 she achieved one of them by becoming the first female ROV pilot in Omega Subsea.
Ailin plays an important role in the offshore industry as an ROV pilot, where she uses remotely operated underwater robots for tasks such as inspection, repair, installation, and maintenance of subsea infrastructures. In addition to this, Ailin has a passion for extreme sports. She loves traveling, exploring, and is deeply interested in learning about herself and the world around her. Ailin has a strong focus on personal growth. Her family and friends describe her lifestyle as “hippie,” and she recently packed up all her belongings to live in a caravan while working and studying.
Ailin’s journey to Omega Subsea was not an easy one. “I started studying mechanical engineering in 2011, but switched to chemical and processing engineering during my second year of high school. In 2013, I began an apprenticeship at Elkem Bremanger, and I enjoyed it so much that I was motivated to continue my education,” explains Ailin.
In 2014, Ailin started studying online to complete her high school education while working as an apprentice. She applied to a university in Australia in 2017 and was accepted. Unfortunately, she was involved in a motorcycle accident later that year that changed her life. Despite this setback, Ailin decided to follow her dream of studying in Australia in 2018, earning a bachelor’s degree in business management. However, after undergoing several surgeries following the accident, she never fully recovered and became 20% disabled as a result of her condition.
“In 2020, I completed my bachelor’s degree and tried to return to work for a few days, but I quickly became ill again. After three years of full-time study, I realized that I needed to change my career plans to accommodate my limitations,” shared Ailin.
That’s when she and NAV (The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Organization) decided that she should retrain as an ROV pilot.
“I contacted all the ROV companies I could find, but they told me that I needed more background in automation or electrical engineering to get started,” said Ailin.
Ailin was determined to do what she needed to achieve her goal. She enrolled in Automation College in Norway, despite having no background in automation, and convinced the school to let her participate in the studies. In August 2021, she began her studies while actively searching for jobs as an ROV pilot.
“It was a difficult period marked by a lack of motivation, as I knew I had three years of studies ahead of me,” said Ailin.
But on International Women’s Day in 2022, she received a phone call while feeling demotivated at school in Bergen. It was Øyvind Lunde, Department Manager in Omega Subsea, who remembered her outstanding enthusiasm for the ROV field and asked if she was still interested in the job. After a casual phone conversation that lasted two hours, she received a job offer as a trainee. Just five weeks later, she was asked to travel to Africa for work. In 2023, she was promoted to ROV pilot technician at Omega Subsea.
“Ailin has been a positive addition to our organization. She showed a genuine interest in the field before being hired. We advertised a position for experienced ROV personnel, and Ailin applied twice with a detailed application that substantiated her interest. She inquired about opportunities to gain more education to be relevant for future job openings. In addition to traditional offshore consulting deliveries, Omega Subsea obtained projects related to project management, operation/maintenance, and manning of ROV systems on subsea vessels on behalf of the shipping company Solstad Offshore. As a result, we decided to hire three ROV trainees in 2022,” according to Lunde.
“We have received positive feedback on Ailin. She has quickly acquired skills and demonstrates a strong interest in further development and learning. Despite her short time in the company, she has also become involved in the trust apparatus for offshore employees,” added Lunde.
Ailin Bergetun became the first female offshore ROV trainee at Omega Subsea in 2022.
“There are not many women on the boats I have been on so far. We spend day and night together for five weeks, and you have to tolerate each others’ moods at all times. I have worked in male-dominated workplaces since I was 17 years old, so for me, it’s quite natural.”
Bergetun has worked on boats like Island Victory and Normand Frontier, traveling to Africa, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Barents Sea. Her time aboard Island Victory stands out as especially memorable, as it marked her first voyage on a boat, and everything was new and exciting for her.
“I love to travel, and the job suits me perfectly. I have established good routines on the boat and have experienced some amazing views. So now, I look forward to continuing to work on boats and exploring new places,” shared Bergetun.