The Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) has joined major employers from across the UK maritime sector in pledging its support for apprenticeships despite all the pressures resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. The initiative was launched by the Maritime Skills Alliance in June and is supported by Maritime Minister Kelly Tolhurst.
NLB currently employs two Electrical Engineering Apprentices and two Deck Rating Apprentices and under the terms of the pledge, has committed to keeping its apprentices in their jobs. The Deck Rating Apprenticeship Scheme has been running since 2016 and its first two apprentices secured full-time employment with the organisation when they graduated in 2018.
Mike Bullock, NLB’s Chief Executive said:
“The introduction of our Apprenticeship scheme has had the obvious benefit of selecting and nurturing young talent to join our workforce. And more particularly, ensures that by the end of their training, the young people have the combination of specialist skills and knowledge that are bespoke to NLB’s requirements such as deck work, buoy maintenance, helicopter operations and lighthouse storing operations.”
Lachlan Greig and James Addison are in their third year of the Electrical Engineering Apprenticeship combining on the job training with study at Forth Valley College. While Stuart MacBrayne and Cammy MacMillan are the latest recruits of the Deck Rating Apprenticeship Scheme. Both are in their second year of the two year apprenticeship and when not at sea, they attend City of Glasgow College (Maritime Education and Training).
Electrical Engineering Apprentice Lachlan Greig said: “When I left school, my love of engineering took me to a mechanical engineering degree at Edinburgh University. However, I was disappointed with the lack of practical experience which had drawn me to the subject in the first place. Thus fulfilling a lot of parent’s fears, I dropped out of university, and worked in bars and restaurants. Despite this change of track, I credit that time with giving me the clarity to see what I really wanted from my career and life. And when I saw the advert for the apprenticeship with NLB, I applied immediately.
“Now I’m in my third year, I’ve had many opportunities to get out on site. Highlights include helicopter travel to the Monach Isles, Haskier, and Mallaid Point in the Western Isles, places I would never have seen if it weren’t for this job.”
Electrical Engineering Apprentice James Addison said: “When I saw the apprenticeship advertised with NLB, it stood out from all the others. I was particularly interested in gaining experience in electrical maintenance as well as being able to travel and see different parts of Scotland and the Isle of Man.
“I’m now in my third year and working my way towards gaining professional qualifications. I am really enjoying working on site and getting the hands-on practical experience. Working with the Northern Lighthouse Board really is unlike any other job. We get to experience opportunities most people will never have, such as living for two weeks on Muckle Flugga, the most Northerly point in the UK.
“I’ve found the balance of study and practical work that an apprenticeship offers extremely beneficial towards gaining a professional qualification and I’d strongly recommend this route to aspiring engineers.”
Deck Rating Apprentice Cammy MacMillan said: “Before joining the Northern Lighthouse Board I spent four years working at Dunstaffnage Marina, a marina and boat yard based just outside Oban. I worked there part-time when I was still at school and then full-time after leaving school. It was here that I got a real feel for the industry and learnt the skills for a career at sea.
“When I saw the job opportunity with NLB I knew it was for me. I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship and have progressed my day to day skills needed for this job massively. Everyone has been very helpful and good to me and I’m learning so many different skills and techniques.”
Deck Rating Apprentice Stuart MacBrayne commented: “Growing up just outside Campbeltown, close to the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse, I have always had an interest in life at sea and lighthouses. I studied at Campbeltown Grammar School before entering full-time employment with the local fuel merchants and shipping agent. After spending over five years working as a Fuel Transport Clerk, I decided it was time to move on and start my career at sea.
“I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship with NLB. During my first two months at sea I had visited more of Scotland than I ever had before. One of my highlights has to be my trip to London onboard PHAROS for London International Shipping Week – sailing up the Thames was a once in a lifetime experience! And another was visiting Hyskeir Lighthouse. This was my first trip off the ship onto a lighthouse and first time flying in a helicopter.
“I would highly recommend an apprenticeship and working at sea to other young people. I have developed skills which will last a lifetime whilst working in a close-knit team and building working relationships with all my colleagues.”
Notes to editors
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- The Maritime Skills Alliance is an employer-led and owned partnership supporting both its members and the wider sector in creating and promoting qualifications and apprenticeships. It is funded entirely by its members https://www.maritimeskills.org/Apprenticeships