The next generation celebrated at Southampton Boat Show 2017

Thirty four apprentices took centre stage on Tuesday (19 September) as British Marine, the membership organisation for the UK leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry, honoured them at its annual Graduation Ceremony at Southampton Boat Show 2017.

In its seventh year, the ceremony celebrates graduating apprentices from all areas of the industry, in roles varying from marine engineers to non-marine specific disciplines like I.T. and Business Administration. Apprentices from eight member companies were recognised, from Berthon Boat Company, C-Quip, Golden Arrow Marine, Offshore Performance, Princess Yachts, RS Sailing, Spinlock and Sunseeker International.

The marine industry now has over 500 apprentices working and learning in 100 businesses. British Marine is working with an industry led working group to develop a range of the Government’s new Trailblazer apprenticeships. There are three of these new Trailblazer Standards in operation within the marine industry – Boatbuilding, Marine Engineering and the newest offering, Marinas and Boatyards. These new Standards are developed by groups of employers, training providers and colleges to ensure that they meet the full needs of the industry.

Apprenticeships are firmly at the heart of both the industry’s and the Government’s plans for skills development in the UK. The new Maritime Minister, Rt. Hon. John Hayes CBE MP, has challenged businesses to double the number of apprentices they employ and “discuss how apprenticeships can help them succeed by growing the next generation of talent”. A sentiment that British Marine whole-heartedly shares.

There were also two special awards at this year’s ceremony. Keith Longman, Yard Manager at Berthon Boat Company received an award from British Marine, recognising his efforts in developing these new training standards for the industry. And the British Marine Trades Association (a group association within British Marine) presented their first Non-Technical Marine Apprentice of the Year Award to Alex Bere, a business administration apprentice at C-Quip, based in Fareham.

Blue Davies, Training Manager at British Marine, said: “We are delighted to honour these 34 apprentices at our Graduation Ceremony. They really are the future of our industry and the next generation of talent. Apprenticeships are growing across the sector and British Marine is playing its part in their development and growth. However, there is still much more work to do, in particular in encouraging more females into apprenticeships in the industry. There is still some way to go before we reach parity with other industries, but we are making good progress.”

Hayley Spencer, a graduating marine engineering apprentice from Princess Yachts in Plymouth, commented on where she sees her career going now she has completed her apprenticeship: “I want to extend my knowledge and get my Grade 7 and then hopefully travel. I know Princess has a lot of international sites and my ambition is to join their warranty team and hopefully land a job in Australia.”

Hayley also wants to encourage more young people into an apprenticeship in the industry: “I’ve had a little hand in career days, where I go out and talk to those fresh out of school. I never had any help like that, so I like to give something back. I want to go back to my old school and show them what can be done and what is possible.”

Paul Martin, Chairman of British Marine Trades Association, commented on the new Non-Technical Marine Apprentice of the Year Award: “By sponsoring and supporting this award we hope to further highlight and recognise the huge variety of career opportunities within the UK marine industry and in particular how diverse those options are.”

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