Eight young people from Kent are celebrating this week after graduating as qualified seafarers from the P&O Ferries apprenticeships scheme.
The group (pictured) were presented with their SQA Level 2 diplomas in maritime studies, accredited by the Merchant Navy Training Board, meaning that they are now legally able to work on board P&O Ferries’ 47,000 ton ships on the English Channel.
Their two year course combined time spent working at sea with three one-month periods of study at the National Maritime Training Centre at North Kent College in Gravesend, culminating in exams last summer. Four of the eight will be employed as deck ratings, with tasks such as assisting on the ship’s bridge, vessel loading and unloading, and mooring operations; the other four will be engine room ratings, tasked with taking on fuel bunkers, engine room watchkeeping and oil checks.
Captain Volker Heil, P&O Ferries’ Head of Fleet Operations who spent 17 years at sea, told the graduates: “You have a great future if you want to work at progressing on the qualification you have now achieved. I wish you all the very, very best for your career.”
Mark Burgess, Training and Development Manager at the Merchant Navy Training Board, said: “The Merchant Navy Training Board works to promote and enhance the training of UK seafarers in order to improve their prospects both here and abroad. This P&O Ferries programme can be picked out as a good one, bringing out the best in people.”
Jai Howard, one of the graduates, added: “I am surprised how much it is like a family on board. The best bits were my mentors and bosses. I would definitely recommend it to people, it’s a great job.”
P&O Ferries has been running the scheme for four years with 16 of the apprentices graduating into full time employment. Applications for the next apprenticeships scheme open next summer – to register for job alerts visit poferries.com/careers.
P&O Ferries – Dan Bridgett +44(0)1304 863833
New Century Media – Tony Lodge & Alex Walker +44(0) 207 930 8033