World-renowned South Shields Marine School is riding the crest of a wave after winning a prestigious education award fought over by colleges and universities from across the north of England.
A leading brand of Tyne Coast College, it was recognised at the 2019 Educate the North Awards for its success in forging and developing landmark links with institutions in countries such as India, Romania and Nigeria, and in the Middle East.
Founded in 1861 and the world’s oldest marine training centre, the marine school clinched the prestigious International Partnership category at a ceremony in Manchester.
Judges were impressed at how it has transferred its long-nurtured skills and expertise to support other nations to better train their own Merchant Navy mariners.
Three other Tyne Coast College brands - Tyne Metropolitan College (TyneMet), Career College North East (CCNE), and North East Sports Academy (NESA) – were shortlisted in other categories.
TyneMet’s Department of Engineering and CCCE, which is based at South Tyneside College, were shortlisted for HE/FE Business/Industry Collaboration, while NESA was in the running for the HE/FE Social Mobility award. Alison Maynard, Deputy Chief Executive of Tyne Coast College, was shortlisted in Leadership.
John Roach, Principal of South Shields Marine School, hailed the win as acknowledgement of the school’s world-leading skills training - and said it was secured due to the contribution of all staff within its overseas partnerships team.
He added: “Everyone involved in this area of our work has played their part in this success, including staff in the general marine office, the academic and vocational teaching team, Curriculum Leaders and Heads of School.
“We have wonderful partnerships with institutions overseas, but we also see ourselves as forging essential partnerships with individual students who come to us to train – they all play such a crucial part in our success.
“While we see this award as recognition of our outstanding global work, we are not standing still and even now are working to develop a greater presence in other countries.
“Taking our partnership work overseas has many benefits, such as helping grow our income stream, attracting learners to further their studies and advance their careers by studying here at the marine school, which in turn brings benefits to South Shields and the North East.
“Our success in this award is recognition of the wonderful, highly skilled training that we have delivered for many years. We have been developing important overseas partnerships for decades and lead the field in this area.
“I was honoured to collect the International Partnership Award, but I did so on behalf of everyone at the marine school who is involved in our international partnerships.”
Judges were told how the school’s international reputation comes from expertise that delivers high-levels skills and leads to highly paid life-long employment for cadets.
In Nigeria, the marine school works with a national shipping company to delivery cadet training, Senior Deck and Engineering Officer training and the new Electro-Technical Officer (ETO) training, with certified ETOs gaining responsibility for maintaining electrical-based systems such as radar and engine room control.
This ground-breaking work saw these officers become the first overseas ETOs to be issued with the highly coveted UK Certificate of Competency (CoC), the licence for them to sail as officers on Merchant Navy ships.
A collaborative HND saw the school’s team work with BP Marine Academy in Mumbai, India, the Romania Nautical College in Constanta, Romania, and the Nigerian Maritime Administration.
It allowed overseas nationals to achieve a UK academic qualification and a UK CoC, with 800 students being guided through this programme in the past five years.
And cooperation in an award-winning programme, sponsored by the British Council, is helping young South Africans take to the seas.
The project, which has the support of the South African government, encourages the disengaged or jobless to train as Merchant Navy ratings.
The marine school has also developed partnerships with companies operating across the Middle East, including Kuwait, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia
At home, government-approved international partnerships with shipping companies worldwide allows overseas students to study in the UK for higher education programmes leading to the issue of a CoC.
The Educate the North Awards launched five years ago to celebrate and recognise best practice and excellence in education in the north of England.
Around 400 people attended the awards presentation evening, held at Manchester’s Hilton on Deansgate, at which 23 awards were handed out.