First three local apprentices graduate from P&O Ferries' scheme as able seafarers
CHRISTMAS came early for three apprentices at P&O Ferries last week after they became the first ever graduates from the company's apprenticeships scheme.
Dover locals Bradley Heath and Toby Scrivener, aged 22 and 20 respectively, and Deal-based Sam Williams, also aged 20, started the prestigious apprenticeship course in 2014 and will now become fully qualified Able Bodied Seafarers, the rank required for anybody to be hired to work on most merchant ships.
During their two year training programme, all three apprentices helped to sail P&O Ferries' 47,000 ton ships on the English Channel and also completed three spells of academic study at North Kent College in Gravesend.
Bradley, Toby and Sam are pictured after being presented with their Able Seafarer - Marine Training Level 2 certificates from the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the examining body.
Captain Volker Heil, Head of Fleet Operations at P&O Ferries, said: "We have been a proud local employer for many years and Bradley, Toby and Sam are the foundations of the next generation of our workforce. For young men and women to be given the chance to sail enormous 47,000 ton ships across the busiest shipping lane in the world is a remarkable experience and we wish them a long and happy career with P&O Ferries."
Bradley Heath, one of the graduates, said: "It was tough at first but once the course got underway it became very enjoyable. Now that I am qualified as an Able Seafarer my duties include steering, acting as a lookout on the bridge and responding to emergency situations on board. We can go literally anywhere we like, both geographically and with our careers, and I have made friends for life."
P&O Ferries is a leading pan-European ferry and logistics company, sailing on eight major routes between Britain, France, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Holland and Belgium. It operates 20 vessels which carry more than 10 million passengers, 1.6 million cars and 2.2 million freight units every year.
Together with its logistics division, P&O Ferrymasters, the company also operates integrated road and rail links to countries across the continent including Italy, Poland and Romania. A P&O Ferrymasters-owned rail terminal in the northern Romanian city of Oradea, which will facilitate the onward movement of goods to Britain from the Silk Road, became operational earlier this year.