‘Huge step’ forward for seafarer apprenticeships


The UK Chamber of Shipping has welcomed today’s announcement – as part of National Apprenticeship Week – that ship ratings, including engineering, navigation and catering roles, will be included as one of the Department for Business ‘Trailblazer’ apprenticeships. 

UK Chamber CEO and former seafarer, Guy Platten said:

“The UK is known the world over for its seafaring skills and the UK has a proud maritime history, but this investment proves we are determined to build a maritime future too. 

“The long-term prosperity of the UK shipping industry depends completely on the people entering it. Training must equip seafarers with key skills and develop their careers as fully as possible while meeting the needs of employers, and today’s Trailblazer announcement is a huge step towards this.

“This announcement is extremely valuable for the industry and demonstrates the Government’s recognition of the importance of maritime careers.”

Trailblazers are a new model of apprenticeships recommended by the Richard Review in 2013 that will supersede all existing models by 2016, ensuring that apprenticeship training meets standards required by industry and employers rather than training providers.

The UK Chamber, Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB) and Maritime Skills Alliance (MSA), campaigned successfully through 2013 to allow the model to extend to elements of seafarer training, and Guy Platten said of the campaign:

“Thanks must be paid to the hard work of the MNTB and our member companies who have been involved in the process aimed, ultimately, at increasing the opportunities for young people in the UK to train for a career at sea.”

Gemma Griffin, Vice President HR & Crewing for DFDS Seaways and chair of the UK Chamber’s Employment Committee will chair a Trailblazer employer group that includes several UK Chamber member companies, with many more having indicated their interest. The employer group will work with the MNTB and MSA to define the scope of the apprenticeships and Gemma said of the announcement:

“Employer-led apprenticeships of this kind are not only vital for DFDS Seaways, but also for the maritime sector as a whole. They help us safeguard the future of our industry by ensuring that we have young people entering the industry with the right skills, expertise and support they need to be able to work effectively and safely.”

A reception at Downing Street on Thursday will officially launch the scheme.