Young people looking to progress their career within the marine industry will be able to take advantage of a brand new apprenticeship scheme aimed at creating the next generation of marine pilots.
The course, which is the only one of its kind in the country, has been developed by pilotage experts at Associated British Ports (ABP) and is the only one of its kind in the UK. It will offers an alternative entry route into pilotage to mariners who have gained their first level marine qualification.
ABP Marine Training Manager, Martin Gough, explains: “The marine industry has struggled to attract people into senior marine positions for some time and we need to ensure we have robust succession planning in place to make sure our staff are trained to the highest marine standards.
“Typically staff for these positions have previously been Master Mariners wanting to come and work ashore, but the number of people both going to sea and subsequently wanting to do this has been declining for the last 15 years.
“This is why in 2012 we launched the country’s first Marine Operations Apprenticeship Scheme and we now have 13 young people at various stages of the course, all working closely with our marine departments developing the skills needed by the industry and with continuous professional development will be able to fill these senior positions.
“The Pilotage Apprenticeship Scheme was born from our original marine apprenticeship scheme when it became apparent that young people wanting to specialise in pilotage could do so using the apprenticeship route, providing the course was there.”
The course will give two applicants the opportunity to train with the team that controls the shipping movements on the Humber Estuary, the UK’s busiest trading gateway and in ABP’s South Wales ports.
As well as getting to know ABP as a company, pilotage apprentices will undertake a comprehensive training programme involving the use of simulators and manned ship models. They will also spend periods on board ships and tugs understudying the ships Master, tug skipper and Pilots gaining practical ship handling expertise.
Martin Gough continued: “This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who’d like to progress their career in the marine industry. The course will give learners a thorough grounding in ABP as a business, as well as a wide variety of maritime skills, which will ultimately see them become an authorised marine pilot.
“It’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to welcoming our first learners in February 2016.”