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British Marine celebrates National Apprenticeship Week

Published on: 03 February 2020


Monday 3 February 2020 marked the start of National Apprenticeship Week, an annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships across England. It is a time to recognise and applaud apprenticeship success stories across the country. To celebrate, we are sharing some inspiring stories of marine apprentices who have undertaken or who are undertaking apprenticeships with some of our members.

Tim Pearce, 23, Marine Engineer at Sunseeker, said: “I was the first person in my family to not go to university, instead I started my career as an apprentice. I knew my learning style was better suited to learning on the job, so I pursed an apprenticeship in the marine industry. During my four-year apprenticeship at Sunseeker I developed a high level of disciple, built contacts for the future and learnt from an amazing group of experienced experts in the field.”

Alexander Fitch, 22, Fitout Engineer at Princess Yachts Limited, said: “When I finished school, I tried some work experience in the train and automotive industry, but soon decided that the marine sector was my preferred industry to train in as a marine engineer. I thoroughly enjoyed my four-year apprenticeship at Princess Yachts, it completely changed my view on the working world, and it helped me become the man I am today. I would highly recommend an apprenticeship because of the qualifications earned, the knowledge gained and the memories you make.”

Connor Powell, 23, Apprentice Marine Trimmer at Tecsew, said: “I left school and like many people had no idea what career path I wanted to follow, but I did know that I wanted to work in an environment that would enable me to balance a full-time job with developing key skills. I never thought when I started working as a part-time librarian, I’d end up undertaking a marine apprenticeship. I started by apprenticeship at Tecsew last year and have thoroughly enjoyed the balance and versatility that it provides. I would highly recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who wants to experience an industry first-hand in an environment where you have support from both the businesses and colleges to pursue a career that excites you.”

Thomas Dale, 25, Marine Engineer at Richardson’s, said: “I studied art and design at college and knew when I graduated that I would perform better in an environment when you train on the job rather than at University. My role as a marine engineer at Richardson’s was the perfect fit. I found it a fast way to learn and to gain a positive qualification whilst also being able to purse a future career. I never thought I’d become a marine engineer and I hope my story shows others that if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything, anywhere.”

Commenting on apprenticeships in the marine industry British Marine CEO, Lesley Robinson, added: “British Marine is committed to promoting the growth of marine apprenticeships in order to sustain and improve skill sets in the industry. We are thrilled to see marine apprenticeships have increased and there are now over 500 apprentices in the industry. According to our latest member survey, more than half (58%) of these marine apprentices are employed in boat manufacturing and engineering roles, while one in three (31%) are engaged in business and professional services.

“One of the key focuses for our new National Agenda is People and Skills and a key component of this is the work we do helping members develop vital apprenticeship programmes to encourage more young people to pursue a career in the marine industry. Every year we honour apprentices from our programmes at our Apprenticeship Graduation at Southampton International Boat Show and celebrate their career development.”

Sharing his experiences as an apprentice Chris Gates, Adviser to Executive Chairman and former Managing Director, Princess Yachts, added: “I never thought that my initial apprenticeship at Gleason Cutting Tools , which I started in 1977, would open the doors to the career I’ve had. I feel deeply privileged to have experienced a well-rounded and in-depth apprentice education which helped me go on to lead British Luxury Yacht Manufacturer, Princess Yachts, for over a decade. Being an apprentice means you are exposed to a variety of disciplines, learn from experienced mentors and end up with an excellent understanding of the details which is invaluable. I’d highly recommend an apprenticeship in the marine sector, it is fantastic one to work in, and there are so many paths to choose from.”

Commenting on the case studies, Gillian Keegan MP for Chichester and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships said: “It is great to see British Marine and its members are providing high-quality apprenticeships, developing the skills and knowledge needed by the marine industry.

Chichester has a long maritime history, and we are home to some of the UK’s most innovative and long-standing marine businesses, with an annual turnover in excess of £9 million – supporting local jobs and training the next generation through apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships are a fantastic route into the workplace and it’s wonderful that the marine leisure industry are providing so many opportunities in a wide variety of disciplines from marine engineering to marina and boatyard operative roles.”