Eight young graduates are celebrating success as they become qualified seafarers, after completing the P&O Ferries apprenticeship programme, in conjunction with The National Maritime Training Centre (NMTC) at North Kent College, Gravesend.

The group were presented with their SQA Level 2 diplomas in maritime studies, meaning they are now legally able to work on board P&O Ferries on the English Channel.

Throughout their two year apprenticeship scheme, they combined working at sea, along with three one-month periods of study at the NMTC, culminating in exams during summer 2018. Four of the eight will be employed as deck ratings, with the remaining four as engine room ratings.

Jai Howard, one of the graduates, said, “I am surprised how much it is like a family on board. The best bits were my mentors and bosses. I would definitely recommend it to people, it’s a great job.”

This group of apprentices were the third intake recruited and retained as employees by the company, and another ten apprentices have already started the programme this year, with completion expected by 2020, under the management of Steve Watkins from NMTC.  P&O Ferries and the college have a strong relationship that gives apprentices the foundations to start their careers, and continue to build this each year.

Steve Watkins commented “I was honoured to be part of the graduation ceremony for the latest group of P&O Deck and Engine Room Apprentices. It was great to be able to issue the certificates that recognises the effort put in by the students.  It shows that the system now in place works, and hopefully other companies will consider the possibilities in the future.”

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