Categories: Associated British Ports, Business, Maritime UK, SouthamptonPublished On: 05.03.20181422 words7.6 min read
Whilst our industry’s headlines more often feature trading conditions, scale economies and technical innovation, much of today’s talk is about apprenticeships. I know from my own experience within Carnival just how vital it is that we get ‘the people side’ right, investing every bit as much attention in recruiting and retaining the talented people we need for our business to succeed, as we do in the ships they sail.

We certainly know the value of apprenticeships in the shipping industry – because it’s a model we are very used to in our cadetships. It’s decades since we last called our trainee officers ‘apprentices’ but by any standards the mix of training at sea and in college is a very impressive example of how to construct a structured programme to give new talent strong foundations – which is what apprenticeships are.

This mix of training on the job, backed by more technical and academic study in college or university, is exactly what so many jobs in the maritime sector need. Whilst the combination of raw nous and physical ability remains welcome, today it must be trained and moulded to be intelligently applied.

Nowhere is this more true than in our maritime businesses, and that’s why the apprenticeship model works so well for us. Our industry takes its corporate social responsibility very seriously, and apprenticeships are an excellent means of giving something back to local communities. And now we have the Apprenticeship Levy to spur us on.

I particularly want to call on every company to take a good hard look at the Levy, and at the possibility of using apprenticeships to attract the next generation of talent to help take your business forward.

The idea is a new one for some companies, but as the case studies below will demonstrate, apprenticeships are a vital part of the talent toolbox. We have a good range of apprenticeships which companies can use and a range of experienced people ready and willing to help them work through the possibility.

David Dingle CBE, Maritime UK Chaiman

Marine engineers are in demand in an industry that offers a wide and varied range of careers

With close to 200,000 people with engineering skills needed each year up to 2024 in the UK according to careers website Prospects, those looking to put technical and problem-solving knowledge and skills to good use are in demand.

This is certainly true of the maritime sector, where engineering plays a crucial role in keeping a marine economy afloat. With jobs available both ashore and at sea, marine engineers focus on the design, construction, installation, operation, maintenance and repair of the machinery, systems and engines that keep the seaborne fleet moving.

Marine engineers might work onboard vessels, offshore installations, on the UK’s military ships, or in ports in a career that encompasses a variety of different disciplines, including structural, mechanical and electronic engineering.

Whatever sort of role a would-be engineer is looking for, the maritime industry is likely to have it. Nowhere is this truer than in the UK, where 95% of the country’s international trade moves through its ports. And with 2018 the UK government’s designated Year of Engineering, there’s no better time for those interested in working in this field to consider making their career in the maritime sector.

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Apprenticeships – promoting the value, dispelling the myths

Former Shipping Minister John Hayes set employers a target during London International Shipping Week 2017 – to double the number of apprentices they employ.

He was launching the joint Maritime UK/DfT booklet on apprenticeships, and asked ‘every maritime business, whether they pay the (Apprenticeship) Levy or not, to discuss how apprenticeships can help them succeed by growing the next generation of talent’.

The drive to increase the number of apprentices employed is a major focus for Maritime UK and a key part of that is explaining their value, says Iain Mackinnon, secretary of the Maritime Skills Alliance.

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Learn more about the available apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are particularly suited to the maritime sector because so many jobs require the mix of practical learning and theoretical study which is at the heart of the apprenticeship model.  From managing a busy port to catering on a cruise ship, from navigating the open sea to lifting a customer’s yacht ashore to clean it, from building a fast ferry to driving it, the maritime sector offers a wide and growing range of apprenticeships as the starting-point for some very rewarding careers.

Apprenticeships are jobs which mixing practical learning on-the-job alongside a more experienced colleague, and more theoretical study.  They’re designed to give apprentices a strong foundation for their career, and the fact that so many senior people in the industry started their careers as apprentices is powerful evidence of just how successful apprenticeships are.

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Meet the apprentice: Keeta Rowlands, ABP

Keeta Rowlands is one of the first people to complete the 4-year Marine Operations Apprenticeship designed by Associated British Ports.

She now works in Southampton as a Multi-Purpose Marine Operative with a principal role in Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) operating the radar and ensuring that ships make their way safely into the port.

Because her training was broad-based, Keeta is also coxswain on the patrol and pilot launches when she’s not in the VTS tower. Keeta always loved the sea and her career began with summer jobs in a marina. She started her apprenticeship with ABP in 2012, and learnt a wide range of practical skills from mooring ships to basic ship handling, with a nine-month spell in a nautical college to learn the theory side of the industry.

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Meet the apprentice: Mac Bierowiec, Seadub Ltd

Mac Bierowiec learned an important thing at university – that the degree route simply wasn’t for him. He gave up his course and went travelling in Australia for three years, teaching himself some mechanical skills and working in a series of garages along the way. Back in the UK he focused on vintage car restoration.

And then, aged 24, he found his niche – as an apprentice at Seadub, the Southampton-based precision engineer company which serves the superyacht and marine industry.

Mac says he has always been passionate about engineering and all things mechanical. However, as a capable student at school he was steered firmly towards university.

“At school we were told that if you are bright you will go to university … and even if you scrape in, that’s OK,” he says. “Apprenticeships were presented in such a bad light, portrayed as only for less able kids. The message was that if you were not going to university, you were no good. That is totally wrong, because it strangles people.”

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Meet the apprentice: Jack Lawson, Trinity House

Jack Lawson describes his four-year apprenticeship with Trinity House as an ‘eye-opener’ – in more ways than one. As a lighthouse technician apprentice, his job takes him to some pretty special places. Meanwhile, he has learned about the shipping and maritime world – and hopes to stay within the industry.

Jack, who is 21, grew up in Swansea, studied for a BTEC level 3 extended diploma in engineering and started work for a local civil engineering firm. A family friend told him about the opportunity for an apprenticeship with Trinity House.

“I knew nothing about Trinity House and knew nothing about the shipping industry,” he says. “In the past four years, I have gained a real understanding of how the shipping and logistics industry works – it was something I took for granted before, not thinking about how the things we buy actually arrive.”

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Meet the apprenticeship advocate: Brian May, MD, Berthon

At Berthon, apprentices have been at the heart of the business for over a century and few MDs are as passionate about apprenticeships as Brian May.

“It’s vitally important to have new talent coming through the ranks. We’ve successfully trained some 65 apprentices over the last 10 years, many of whom are now at the heart of our business helping us to win new contracts and deliver better products”.

Lymington-based Berthon shipyard undertakes construction and fit-out projects for both the small commercial boat and yachting sectors. And the company’s commitment to using apprentices is clear in the numbers: there’s one apprentice for every four skilled people on the shop floor.

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Apprenticeships allow you to bring new talent through the ranks and train your team with the skills they need to help  your business succeed. Download.

Maritime UK”s manifesto

Source: Maritime UK, 5 March 2018