DFDS celebrates newly qualified apprentices
On Friday 9 September, DFDS celebrated the latest cohort of apprentices to complete its apprenticeship scheme, with a 100% pass rate.
A ‘passing out’ ceremony took place on board its ship Dover Seaways and was attended by family, friends and industry representatives.
The event saw the company’s first engineering apprentices and the second group of deck apprentices qualify, since the programme started in 2012.
The ceremony was the first of its kind, in an industry which has seen a decline in new ratings entering – particularly among the younger generation – with statistics showing that more than 70% of ratings currently employed in the UK maritime sector are aged-40 or over. The number of UK seafarer ratings was 30,000 in the 1980s but currently stands at less than 9,000.
Gemma Griffin, Vice President of HR and Crewing at DFDS commented “It has been a privilege to watch these young apprentices learn new skills and grow as individuals over the past two years and I am so proud to see all nine of them pass.
“The scheme has provided these apprentices with not just a job; but a career for life. At DFDS, it is important to us to create opportunities for young people living in Dover and the surrounding area and the qualifications gained through the apprenticeship schemes can do just this.”
Speakers at the event also included Steve Todd, National Secretary RMT; Glenys Jackson, Head of the Merchant Navy Training Board; and Stephen Watkins, Curriculum Manager of North Kent College – all of whom have played a significant part in making the schemes possible.
DFDS offers two apprenticeship schemes; the Deck Scheme which sees students qualify as Able Seafarers, working in the deck department as a watchman and assisting with loading and unloading the ship; and the Engine Scheme which sees apprentices work towards becoming Marine Fitters within the engineering team, which is responsible for maintaining and repairing the ships.
The apprenticeships are offered in partnership with the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB), the shipping industry’s central body for promoting and developing sector-specific education and training skills.
The schemes last between 18 and 24 months and are aimed at 17 to 24 year olds with a minimum of Grade C Maths and English at GCSE level. From this week, DFDS will see nine new apprentices start their journey to become qualified Seafarers.
For more information on the apprenticeship schemes, visit Careers at Sea.