Apprenticeships

Image supplied by the RNLI

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are jobs with structured training which give apprentices a first class foundation to their subsequent career. There are apprenticeships in:

  • inland waterways
  • marinas and boatyards
  • marine pilotage
  • the Merchant Navy
  • port operations (stevedoring)
  • the Royal Navy
  • sea fishing
  • workboats

The MSA has produced a number of short (two page) Briefings with introductory information about apprenticeships and the Apprenticeship Levy. You'll find them all on our Briefings page.

All maritime apprentices are now invited to apply for Student Membership of IMarEST, the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology. Full details here.

Apprentices are also entitled to get the NUS (National Union of Students) discount card.

As the number of maritime apprenticeships grows we will provide direct links to the companies which offer those opportunities. In the meantime, the links below are to the colleges and training providers who are currently best-placed to provide more information.

The Institute for Apprenticeships is a new Government body in England which is leading the work to improve the quality and take-up of apprenticeships. The information they provide on their website about the range of apprenticeships available is unfortunately misleading because it only refers to new-style 'Standards' and omits all mention of existing apprenticeships (known as 'Frameworks'). The MSA therefore aims to provide information about both here, and we will be enhancing the information available so that companies and others can find everything they want in one place - which you cannot currently do through the IfA.

  • The current Frameworks (ie existing apprenticeships) are detailed separately for England, Scotland and Wales.
  • New Standards (which are for England only; the rest of the UK is not part of this change) are listed here.

Employers can use any of the existing apprenticeships now; you do not need to wait until the new Trailblazer standards are ready.

Trailblazers: Apprenticeships in England are changing, with a number of 'Trailblazer' working groups reviewing existing apprenticeship standards, and considering new options. They are:

Contact Iain Mackinnon for other sectors or for general questions.

The apprenticeship leads the way to the Boatmaster licence, recognised by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (and at Tier 1 Level 2, the top level, covering tidal rivers and 'limited distances to sea').

The National Maritime Training Centre at North Kent College currently supports apprentices on the lower Thames.

Red Ensign Ltd on the Isle of Wight has also supported this apprenticeship for a windfarm employer.

Sea Regs Ltd, based in Plymouth, has also now been approved to support the apprenticeship.

This apprenticeship is not currently available in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. If you would like it to be, please talk to Iain Mackinnon.

Two providers have been approved to support the apprenticeship:

Apprenticeships for deck ratings and engine room ratings are currently supported by:

The deck rating apprenticeship Standard, which applies in England - and is formally known as "Able Seafarer (Deck)" - is here, along with the approved Assessment Plan. For Engine Room ratings, the Maritime Trailblazer Group is working with the Royal Navy to design a joint Standard which covers the needs of both and you can see the draft here. In the meantime, you'll find details of the currently approved Engine Room Rating apprenticeship here.

Both deck and engine room ratings apprenticeships are also available in Scotland, and you'll find full details here.

The Maritime Trailblazer Group is currently developing new apprenticeships for ratings working in maritime catering and onboard services. Here is the approved Maritime Caterer apprenticeship Standard; the final step in the process is to get the accompanying Assessment Plan approved.

For other roles in the Merchant Navy, including cadetships (for trainee officers), see the Careers At Sea website.

Companies cannot use their Apprenticeship Levy funds for cadets because cadetships do not count as a 'statutory apprenticeship'.

For a good introduction to the range of apprenticeships available in the ports sector, have a look at Associated British Ports' apprenticeship video on YouTube.

Contact Colin Bassam at Port Training Services is a good guide to apprenticeship opportunities across the country.

See the Royal Navy's website for comprehensive information about career opportunities. The site also covers the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the civilian body which keeps the Royal Navy supplied.

Sea fishing apprenticeships in England are run by Whitby Fishing School (which provides accommodation for apprentices when they are not at sea).

In Scotland, both the Scottish Maritime Academy in Peterhead and NAFC Marine Centre in Shetland support sea fishing apprenticeships.

You can find more information about other training in the sea fishing sector here.

54 North Maritime Training Ltd (based in Whitby) currently supports the workboats apprenticeship.

The Workboat apprenticeship has now also been approved for delivery in Scotland and we are working with the National Workboat Association to ensure that an appropriate off-the-job provider is available soon.