Offshore wind crew transfer vessel operator Seacat Services has concluded the first of many apprentice recruitment drives with the award of a dozen opportunities to the next generation of offshore renewable energy seafarers.
The firm is now set to deliver maritime training for 12 Apprentice Deckhands from the local area as it seeks to expand its crew for a seven-strong fleet of 21-26m offshore wind energy support vessels. Over 200 applications for the apprenticeship scheme were received and the successful candidates were chosen following an intensive competitive selection process.
As the importance of sourcing local content continues to grow for developers and operators working in the offshore wind sector, these new appointments illustrate a commitment to simultaneously fulfill increasingly stringent requirements, whilst having a positive impact on the local community and giving the next generation of seafarers a taste of working in the emerging marine energy industry.
Furthermore, the apprenticeship drive seeks to address a skills shortage in UK offshore renewables and buck a trend that has seen overseas developers and contractors dominate in many key areas of the domestic industry.
In cooperation with Cowes-based maritime training provider Red Ensign and apprenticeship specialist HTP Training of Newport, Isle of Wight, Seacat Services will deliver a tailored apprenticeship programme for the 12 successful candidates that will see them work towards a Level 2 Diploma in Maritime Studies, with the aim of achieving a Certificate of Competence after further training and sea time has been served.
From September 15th onwards, shore-based training for the apprentice deckhands will take place at Red Ensign’s dedicated maritime training centre, in conjunction with work-based training onboard the Seacat vessels under the mentorship of the Master and Mate for rotations of 2 to 3 weeks at sea.
The 12 successful apprentices, aged 18 to 23, were selected from an initial shortlist of the 24 most ambitious candidates in the extensive applicant pool. This shortlist was halved based on an extensive evaluation of each candidate’s performance in a range of problem solving, discussion and team-based activities.
“The significant number of applications we received for the apprenticeship scheme illustrates a clear demand from young people in the local community for high-quality maritime training opportunities,” said Ian Baylis, Managing Director, Seacat Services.
“It’s really a no-brainer to start making use of this vast pool of homegrown talent as the UK’s offshore wind industry expands. The support vessel sector has been something of a leader in this regard; with the majority of crew transfer vessels servicing the European industry either built in or operated from the United Kingdom.”
“We’re hoping that this scheme is the first of many for Seacat Services, and this kind of opportunity is something we’d like to see more of across the UK as the industry continues to focus on cultivating local content,” he added.
Andrew Dale, Managing Director of Red Ensign Ltd, added, “Offshore wind is a hugely exciting industry and the enthusiasm we’ve seen from young people locally is testament to this.”
“Our task is to maintain this enthusiasm by continuing to offer high-quality bespoke merchant navy training opportunities with leading firms like Seacat Services. We’ve always firmly believed that apprenticeships are the best way to introduce and nurture the next generation of UK seafarers – and by doing so guarantee the ongoing success of maritime industries in the UK.”
Iain Mackinnon, Secretary of the Maritime Skills Alliance, which developed the apprenticeship in partnership with a number of sector employers, said, “Employers like Seacat Services now have a range of maritime apprenticeships they can choose from to suit their own needs, and it’s terrific to see them getting such a good response from local young people.”