Maritime Charities Group extends retraining fund for unemployed seafarers

Seafarers-on-deck Seaman on deck

The Maritime Charities Group (MCG) has extended itscovid-19 redundancy and retraining bursary fund for a further three months in response to continued concern about the plight of seafarers unable to get work in the sector.

The fund, which is administered by the Marine Society on behalf of MCG, provides extra cash for training and refresher courses and is aimed at merchant seafarers who have lost work due to covid-19 and want to stay in the industry. The fund will now be available until the end of March 2022 and UK-based applicants can claim up to £500 towards training or qualifications of their choice.

Chair of MCG, commander Graham Hockley says: “We know that the jobs market is still precarious and we want to help where we can. By providing grants for training and refresher courses we are helping seafarers get new jobs in the industry. 76 seafarers have benefited from the fund since it opened just over a year ago and many of them are now working again. So it really does make a difference.”

The fund was set up by MCG in November 2020 with contributions from Trinity House, Nautilus Slater Fund and the Merchant Navy Welfare Board. So far, they have awarded over £35,000 towards the cost of a wide range of training courses including certificate renewal and retraining for offshore and wind farms.

“In the run-up to Christmas when budgets are likely to be stretched, if you don’t have a job and can’t afford to retrain or refresh your qualifications, life can look pretty grim,” says Hockley. “The MCG bursary could help you get back into employment or retrain for a new role in the industry. It covers everything from certificate renewal to writing job applications, from retraining to interviewing skills.”

Allan Dickson (pictured below) is a second engineer and has been out of work since almost the start of the pandemic.

Dickson says: “I took a deep sea job and ended being caught in the crew change crisis. I only managed to get home by resigning. Since then I have continued looking for work and have taken agency roles to make ends meet.

“I applied for the bursary because my STCW certificates were about to expire. The MCA had already said there would be no more extensions and without them, I would be unable to work. With help from the covid-19 bursary fund, I’ve now completed my STCW refresher training and secured a six-week contract with potential for further work.”

Allan concludes: “There is little in the way of financial help available for seafarers and these past few years we have given so much. When a chance of assistance is there, take it.”

Click here ( to find out how to apply for the MCG bursary fund.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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