Ferry company call for apprentices to boost maritime industry
This National Apprenticeship Week, ferry operator DFDS is on the lookout for those still deciding on a career path or considering a new one.
With apprentice numbers dropping in the time-honoured British maritime sector, the sector is one that offers strong opportunity. However, current projections have the number of UK active seafarers expected to drop by more than 30% over the next decade.
Between 2015 and 2016 the estimated total number of UK ratings (junior seaman) increased by 1 per cent but this was largely driven by a 9 per cent increase in catering/hotel/other ratings. But this was largely offset by a decline in the number of deck and officer ratings as the total number of deck ratings decreased by 8 per cent and engine ratings fell by 15 per cent compared with the previous year.
To tackle the issue, DFDS launched its apprenticeship programme in September 2012, and has since seen 19 apprentices sign up as either Able Seafarers deck or engine. Last year, 100 per cent of the cohort completed their apprenticeships and the ferry operator welcomed a further seven on to the two year programme.
Gemma Griffin, Vice President of HR and Crewing at DFDS commented “We want to educate UK youngsters about the benefits a maritime career can offer.
“It is important to us as a business to create opportunities for young people living in Dover and the surrounding areas and help them understand that the skills and qualifications that can be gained through a seafarer apprenticeship can offer a career for life.
“And it doesn’t have to stop there. Following their apprenticeships with DFDS, qualified seafarers can continue to strive to further develop their careers by signing up to the next level of qualifications which will open even more doors to them within the maritime industry.”
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.
DFDS will soon be launching a maritime caterer apprenticeship giving people interested in cooking or becoming a chef the opportunity to become fully trained chefs and ships cooks opening doors both on land and sea.
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.
For more information on the apprenticeship schemes, visit http://www.careersatsea.org/opportunities-for-ratings/.
Note to editors:
Gemma Griffin chairs the Employment Committee at the UK Chamber of Shipping. This sets the strategic direction on seafarers’ living and working conditions, equality, minimum wage, union relations, seafarer immigration, recruitment and training, occupational health and safety, human element, and standards of training. Gemma led the Employer Leadership Group in developing the standards for the trailblazer rating apprenticeships, matching industry requirements and the syllabus for deck, engine and catering departments.