Image courtesy of Associated British Ports
Apprenticeships are jobs with structured training which give apprentices a first class foundation to their subsequent career. There are apprenticeships in:
Here is a downloadable list of currently available Maritime Apprenticeships (two pages).
The MSA has produced a number of short (two page) Briefings with introductory information about apprenticeships and the Apprenticeship Levy. You'll find them all on our Briefings page.
For a compelling explanation of why one company invests so heavily in apprenticeships, have a look at what one of the founders of Pendennis superyacht shipyard in Falmouth had to say in this presentation in October 2018. A stunning one third of the workforce are apprentices. Why do it? To train for the skills the company needs now; to invest for the future; to get people with the right attitude; to grow future managers.
All maritime apprentices are now invited to apply for Student Membership of IMarEST, the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology. Full details here.
Apprentices are also entitled to get the NUS (National Union of Students) discount card.
As the number of maritime apprenticeships grows we will provide direct links to the companies which offer those opportunities. In the meantime, the links below are to the colleges and training providers who are currently best-placed to provide more information.
The Institute for Apprenticeships is a Government body in England which is leading the work to improve the quality and take-up of apprenticeships. The information they provide on their website about the range of apprenticeships available is unfortunately misleading because it only refers to new-style 'Standards' and omits all mention of existing apprenticeships (known as 'Frameworks'). The MSA therefore aims to provide information about both here, and we will be enhancing the information available so that companies and others can find everything they want in one place - which you cannot currently do through the IfA.
Employers can use any of the existing apprenticeships now; you do not need to wait until the new standards are ready.
Contact Iain Mackinnon for general questions.
These apprenticeships have been developed through its “Maritime SuperSkills” project by Liverpool John Moores University.
LJMU are also exploring the possibility of a Naval Architecture apprenticeship. Contact: Professor Ian Jenkinson. You can find out more about careers in naval architecture on the website of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.
The apprenticeship leads the way to the national Boatmaster licence, recognised by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (and at Tier 1 Level 2, the top level, covering tidal rivers and 'limited distances to sea').
The Government offers substantial subsidies to companies which employ apprentices working towards their Boatmaster licence. Details are available from the following three centres, which all support the apprenticeship:
Companies on the lower Thames will find it helpful to talk to the Thames Skills Academy, which supports members who offer apprenticeships.
This apprenticeship is not currently available in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. If you would like it to be, please talk to Iain Mackinnon.
Three providers have been approved to support the apprenticeship:
Detail about the Marina and Boatyard apprenticeship is here. British Marine is investigating what interest there is in creating a Modern Apprenticeship in Scotland. Contact: Aileen Monk, British Marine Scotland.
Have a look also at British Marine's Careers Pages.
A new Marine Pilot apprenticeship is now available, and you can find full details here.
The Government provides substantial subsidies to companies which employ people through recognised apprenticeships. You can find out more through Port Skills and Safety, which helped to create the apprenticeship, and through South Shields Marine School, which provides the 'off-the-job' support.
Apprenticeships for deck ratings and engine room ratings are currently supported by:
Svitzer, the UK's largest tug company, is currently advertising for apprentice deck ratings in Liverpool, Greenock, Grangemouth, Tyne, Tees, Felixstowe, London, Southampton and the Bristol Channel. Details here.
The MNTB's advice and information on ratings apprenticeships is here.
The Deck rating apprenticeship Standard, which applies in England - and is formally known as "Able Seafarer (Deck)" - is here, along with the approved Assessment Plan.
For Engine Room ratings, the Maritime Trailblazer Group has been working with the Royal Navy to design a joint Standard ("Maritime Electrical / Mechanical Mechanic") which covers the needs of both and it is now available for use: you'll find full details here.
Both deck and engine room ratings apprenticeships are also available in Scotland, and you'll find full details here. Neither is currently available in Northern Ireland or Wales; please let Iain Mackinnon know if you would like them to be.
A wholly-new Maritime Caterer apprenticeship is available in England: details here. In Scotland the Hospitality Modern Apprenticeship is available "with maritime enhancements" - as piloted by Caledonian MacBrayne in partnership with City of Glasgow College.
In addition to the Government's subsidy, the Maritime Education Foundation offers companies grants of £4,000 for eligible apprentice ratings following approved deck, engine room and catering apprenticeships. Details here.
For other roles in the Merchant Navy, including cadetships (for trainee officers in deck, engineering and electro-technical roles), see the Careers At Sea website.
Companies cannot use their Apprenticeship Levy funds for cadets because cadetships do not count as a 'statutory apprenticeship'.
There are apprenticeship routes for Port Operatives in both England (at Level 2) and Scotland (at SCQF Level 5); you'll find full details here: England; Scotland. The apprenticeship is not currently available in either Wales or Northern Ireland; if you would like it to be, please contact Iain Mackinnon.
For supervisors and first line managers, Port Skills and Safety feature a tailored version of the generic Team Leader / Supervisor apprenticeship, contextualised for ports by Weston College, working with the Bristol Port Company. Details here.
There are also, in England only at this stage, the following higher level apprenticeships (designed for someone with relevant prior experience):
The Government offers substantial subsidies to employers using recognised apprenticeships. You can find out more from Port Skills and Safety.
For a good introduction to the wide range of apprenticeships available in the ports sector, including many not specific to the maritime industry, have a look at Associated British Ports' apprenticeship video on YouTube. And PD Ports profiles four of its apprentices here (news item dated 4th-7th February 2020).
Have a look also at Port Skills and Safety's Careers Page.
In Scotland, NAFC Marine Centre in Shetland supports sea fishing apprenticeships.
In England, there is currently no apprenticeship (though work continues to re-instate it). Whitby Fishing School runs a year-long programme very similar to the old apprenticeship, based on the Level 2 Diploma in Maritime Studies: Sea Fishing. One large company uses the mainstream Merchant Navy route - which leads to Able Seafarer (Deck) certification from the MCA - taught with suitable additions for their fishing context.
The sea fishing apprenticeship is also not currently available in Wales or Northern Ireland. If you would like it to be, please talk to Iain Mackinnon
You can find more information about other training in the sea fishing sector, including the 3-week Introduction to Commercial Fishing course, here.
The Government offers substantial subsidies to companies which employ apprentices in the workboat sector; details are available from the Workboat Association or either of these recognised training providers - 54 North Maritime Training Ltd (based in Whitby), and SeaRegs (based in Plymouth) - which provide the 'off-the-job' training to support the apprenticeship. There is, as yet, no approved training provider in Scotland, so we are working with the Workboat Association to ensure that one is available soon.
Have a look also at the Workboat Association's training page.
This apprenticeship is not currently available in Wales or Northern Ireland. If you would like it to be, please talk to Iain Mackinnon.
SQA is reviewing the Level 3 Diploma in Shipping and Maritime Occupations, both deck and engine versions (GA6G 57 & GA6F 57) and the Scottish equivalent, the National Certificate in Shipping and Maritime Operations at SCQF Level 6 (G9GW 46).
They are all widely used for pre-cadetship programmes, but they were designed a decade or so ago. Are they doing the job they are now used for? Could they do more, eg by preparing the way for other occupations? Shajan Lukose from Fleetwood Nautical Campus is managing the review for SQA and plans to contact every centre currently offering these qualifications. If you are not on the current centre list and want to talk to him anyway, please get in touch.
There's more information here: Diploma Review briefing paper.