In 2014-2015 Sirius Marine Services received grant funding for their first apprentice and are now using the Shipwrights’ Apprenticeship Scheme loan facility to support their second apprentice, Tom Wills, through his first year of training and employment. The loan helps small businesses manage the cash flow impact of a first year apprentice by offsetting the wages of an inexperienced employee until the final two years of the four year apprenticeship, where they are becoming increasingly productive and are adding to the bottom line, but are not yet on a fully skilled wage.
Sirius Marine Services Ltd took over the boat yard and premises in March 2009 (previously owned & run by Sirius Yachts Ltd). The experienced and qualified workforce remained as did the excellent reputation for building steel boats & maintaining narrowboats. Now Sirius is a private family company running a fully functioning boat yard, with all the skills, equipment and resource required to complete any boat related project; from breakdowns and repairs to new builds.
Terry Saich from Sirius says “Our heritage and ideals, our ethos and standards are the things we live and grow by. These are preserved or diminished by how freely we impart our skills and experiences to our apprentices, whom will become the new generation of boat builders and restorers.”
Apprentice Tom is one of the first in the country to be studying towards the newly developed Boatbuilder Apprenticeship Standard, a qualification developed through the Governments Trailblazer programme of apprenticeship reform by a group of employers from the boat building industry. This new qualification is designed by industry and brings together all the techniques and knowledge required to build boats in today’s yards. Tom believes that he will be head and shoulders above his peers by completing this apprenticeship; “College has been good and I come back from each visit having learnt something new; the course fits in well with work, especially now that the schedule has changed so we will do more college in the winter, and less in the summer!”
The new course is allowing providers to be more flexible with delivery having benefits for all three parties: “Due to the block release style of my course I find that when I am at college I am really able to fit in my Job Write Ups and Revision.” Says Tom.
This apprenticeship is working very well for both employer and apprentice and we will work hard to ensure it continues to do so.