Friday, 11th October 2019

South Shields Marine School has extended the global reach of its skills training through a pioneering partnership to deliver a new engineering course for students in Northern Ireland seeking careers at sea.

The world-renowned training centre has begun working with South Eastern Regional College (SERC) on a programme that will allow its young learners to take their first steps to becoming maritime industry engineers.

Based at SERC’s Bangor campus, a facility boosted by a recent £3m refurbishment and one of the college’s seven main education centres, the one-year Level 2 Marine Pre-Cadetship will provide essential first-step seagoing skills.

Blending theory and practical elements, modules include preparing and using lathes, producing sheet metal components, engineering techniques and principles, and personal safety and social responsibilities in the maritime sector.

Students will also be able to complete a further short course from a range which includes fire-fighting and fire prevention, personal survival techniques, first aid, social responsibility, and marine security.

The Pre-Cadetship, which is aimed at people who will eventually seek a full cadetship with a sponsoring company but who have yet to be successful in securing a place, will support professional career entry into the Merchant Navy and the fishing industry, and work on cruise liners.

Michael Speers, Head of School at the marine school’s Marine and Offshore Safety Training Centre (MOST), said: “This important partnership will greatly broaden opportunities for people in Northern Ireland to gain the essential skills to work in the maritime sector.

“Delivering this high-quality Level 2 marine engineering course is a pivotal first step towards SERC eventually offering both engineering and deck pre-cadetships similar to those developed and run in South Shields.

“SERC’s tremendous new facilities are likely to be of great appeal to people hoping to embark on a career within the Merchant Navy, and also to the local maritime community in Northern Ireland.

“South Shields Marine School has been an important training centre for the maritime sector for many years, and we’re hoping for a long, successful and highly productive relationship with South Eastern Regional College.

“We also look forward to welcoming students who have completed their Pre-Cadet course with the college onto future programmes at South Shields Marine School.”

Trevor Breadon, Head of School, Computing and Engineering at SERC, said: “Our engineering expertise at SERC is a perfect match for South Shields Marine School, a world-renowned centre of excellence for marine education. 

“We are delighted to be working together to be able to offer this exciting new course in Northern Ireland.

“The programme is due to commence in September, initially at our Bangor Campus, and is likely to be of interest to anyone with a career with the merchant navy, cruise liners or the fishing industry.”

The partnership extends the marine school’s well-established and often ground-breaking work with colleges and shipping companies around the world to extend and broaden skills training.

Founded in 1861 and the world’s oldest purpose-built maritime training centre, it delivers cadetships with shipping firms in the Middle East, including Kuwait, Oman, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

And through a high-quality Collaborative HND, it also works with BP Marine Academy in Mumbai, India, and the Nigerian Maritime Administration.

The HND allows overseas nationals to achieve a coveted United Kingdom Certificate of Competency, the licence for them to sail as officers on Merchant Navy ships, and almost 800 students have passed it in five years.

The marine school’s cooperation in an award-winning programme, sponsored by the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, helps 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 launch of the Level 2 Marine Pre-Cadetship coincides with the marine school being a finalist in the Rising Star and STEM award categories of the first ever Maritime UK Awards.

The Rising Star award is open to individuals whose contribution has made a real and positive impact to the business they represent, and the STEM award is for businesses that have demonstrated exceptional commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.