Historic maritime organisations join forces to boost 21st century skills

TWO historic marine organisations have joined forces to help ensure that the North East’s seafaring skills continue well into the 21st century.

Tyneside-based shipping and marine insurer, North P&I Club, which was founded in 1860, and the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, which can trace its origins back over 800 years, are sponsoring the marine apprenticeship of Jamie Lorimer, from Alnwick Moor in Northumberland.

Jamie, 20, is now in his final year of his apprenticeship working at Blyth-based subsea specialist Pharos Offshore with tuition from Northumberland College.

Jamie’s apprenticeship has been funded by North P&I Club via its involvement with the Shipwrights Apprenticeship Scheme.

The funding from this scheme is only available to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the marine sector who are committed to developing their skills base but who do not pay into, or benefit from, the apprenticeship levy.

The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights have sponsored almost 120 apprentices at over 100 SMEs since 2015, by subsidising the cost of their wage during the first year of the apprenticeship.  Demand for Shipwrights Company grants is high and only the most exceptional apprentices such as Jamie are successful in securing sponsorship.

The former Duchess Community High School, Alnwick student has been given a thorough grounding in the various skills required at Pharos Offshore including a range of different mechanical, hydraulic and electrical based skills necessary for a multi-tasking engineer fitter.

He is now in the final year of his training and is currently working on the repair and refurbishment of a subsea remote operated vehicle (ROV) as part of his final year project.

Talking about his apprenticeship, Jamie said: “I have learnt a lot in my two years of being here and have worked on a wide range of equipment gaining many different skills, it has been a very good opportunity for what is available in the local area and I am excited to progress my career with Pharos.”

Originally established in 2003 as a dedicated manning agency, Pharos Offshore now offers a range of services to the marine and offshore industry including equipment hire, refurbishment and repair, personnel, trenching solutions and project management.

Chris Hall, technical manager at Pharos Offshore, said: “It’s really important for us as a company to take on new people and to teach them the skills which they will need for a career in the marine sector.

“However, as an SME, this is not always possible financially so the Shipwrights Apprenticeship Scheme has been beneficial for us, as it means that we have been able to bring in Jamie and pass on our skills and knowledge to him.

“He’s been a terrific apprentice who’s really become a part of the team and he looks to have a very bright future ahead of him. As with every apprenticeship, it’s the individual who, if they can apply themselves correctly, make the experience an enjoyable learning process for both the individual and the company.

“Now that Jamie has a broad range of skills, he has opted to head down a more specific mechanical/hydraulic career in the marine sector. He will shortly, with sponsorship from the Shipwrights, be attending the National Fluid Power Centre. Here he will complete a week of training and at the end of hit hopefully achieve his Cetop H1 National Certification.

“We’re very grateful to North P&I Club and the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights for their backing and for the chance to help invest in our skills base and develop such a talented young man.”

Dawn Robinson, global director of people at North P&I, said: “We’re delighted to hear how well Jamie’s apprenticeship is going and the contribution which he is making at Pharos Offshore.

“Whilst we run our own apprenticeship programme at North, we are also mindful of the importance of helping to invest in the marine sector as a whole, particularly so in our native North East where we have been since 1860.

“Both the organisation as a whole and members of the North P&I team individually are involved in the great work which the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights do to help pass on skills and train up the next generation of marine sector workers so this was a great opportunity to combine our presence in the seafaring industry with our active role in the local community.

“We look forward to hearing about Jamie’s further progress and wish him all the best for his future success.”

The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights is one of the City of London’s 110 livery companies, with its origins dating from before 1199.

It was originally formed to safeguard the quality of shipbuilding in the City of London but has expanded to cover the whole of the UK.

Staying true to its original purpose, this continues today via the provision of support to marine apprenticeships, boat building courses and naval and marine engineering students at university plus the presentation of annual awards of excellence.  The Shipwrights’ Company has a strong philanthropic purpose and donates annually to maritime related causes, individuals, charities and companies.

Andy Levene, Shipwrights Company Apprenticeship Scheme Manager, said: “We were delighted to sponsor Jamie at Pharos Offshore Group on the Port of Blyth.

“Partnering with North P&I has enabled us to consolidate our presence in the North East region. Jamie has proven to be a very worthy beneficiary of our grant, and has already produced an excellent progress report, which the committee of the Shipwrights Apprenticeship Scheme thoroughly enjoyed reading.

“We hope he will continue to go from strength to strength.”

L-R: Apprentice Jamie Lorimer with Dawn Robinson, Global Director (People) at North and Chris Hall, Technical Manager at Pharos Offshore.