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Britain's future marine workforce celebrated

by Annabel Wildey on 22 Sep 2016 21 September 2016
Apprenticeship Graduation Awards with Captain Matt Bolton and Libby Greenhalgh © British Marine

Fifty eight young people have been honoured yesterday by British Marine, the membership organisation for the UK leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry, at its annual Graduation Ceremony at the 2016 Southampton Boat Show.

Now in its sixth year, the event celebrates a selection of graduating apprentices from all areas of the industry, in roles varying from marine engineers to shipwrights and joiners; recognising the diversity of skills and careers in the sector. Apprentices from eight member companies were recognised, from Berthon Boat Company, BHG Marine, Cooney Marine, RNLI, Seadub, Spinlock, Sunseeker International, Pendennis Shipyard and Princess Yachts.

The marine industry has over 470 apprentices across 100 businesses, with three quarters of apprenticeships in manufacturing and engineering, according to a new report* released at the Show yesterday.

Apprenticeships are important within the marine industry as an inability to recruit skilled workers is holding back business growth, according to the new report. 30% of companies have identified critical skills gap, with technical skills the biggest obstacle to recruitment. British Marine is working with its members to tackle the skills gap, turning to apprenticeships as well as providing a range of training and development opportunities for existing staff.

Sarah Dhanda, Director of Membership & Services at British Marine, said: "We are delighted to honour these 63 young people at our Graduation Ceremony. They are the workforce of the future and it is wonderful to be able to recognise their hard work and dedication. British Marine has been working with companies to support marine apprentices for a number of years to ensure that the industry, bringing £3.6 billion worth of turnover to the UK economy, addresses the skills gaps and continues to thrive."

The Royal Navy's Deputy Chief of Staff Engineering Support, Captain Matt Bolton, who presented the awards alongside Libby Greenhalgh of the Magenta Project, added: "A career in the marine industry offers a wide range of opportunities and an apprenticeship is an invaluable way to enter the sector. Thirty five years ago I started off my career as an apprentice and today I still draw on the knowledge and skills I learnt at the time. It is exciting to see so many young people taking on the oceans of opportunity within the industry."

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