SMarT funding scheme extended for maritime cadets
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has confirmed a further six-month extension to the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) fund for cadets unable to finish their training due to covid.
The scheme was extended last year but now, in response to feedback from the industry, funding extensions will continue and be available for up to 12 months in total for each eligible cadet.
Cadets generally have a SMarT funding period of up to 150 weeks to gain their Certificate of Competency (CoC). However, due to the disruption of the pandemic, allowances have been made to provide more time to complete training and develop skills and knowledge, with a maximum of 202 weeks now being funded.
The scheme ensures that sponsoring companies can claim for cadets who have been unable to complete their training and obtain their CoC because there has been a delay in taking an MCA written exam due to the impact of Covid-19, or STCW safety courses have been unavailable for the same reason. Companies will also be able to claim if cadets were unable to obtain sea service or complete their MCA approved long course at college due to the impacts of the pandemic.
“Cadets are the lifeblood of maritime and the future of our proud nautical heritage,” says maritime minister, Robert Courts. “As global leaders in seafarer training, it’s important that the UK sets an example by supporting those who have been unable to finish their training due to the pandemic – inspiring a new generation of cadets and keeping the UK at the forefront of international maritime.”
Katy Ware, director of UK Maritime Services, says: “We know that covid has had an ongoing impact on training and that many cadets have been unable to complete their training in the time they would normally be expected to.
“We have extended before and, after listening to industry feedback about what was needed, decided to extend the support further to deliver on that. Cadets are the future of maritime and we must do all we can to support them.”
Any extension to funding will be available for eligible cadets up to and including 31 October 2024, and requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.