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UKSA apprentice dreams of captaining his own vessel

Josh Coates at his apprenticeship at Williams Shipping

In celebration of National Apprenticeship Week 2022 (7-13 February), UKSA (@uksasailing) is sharing 20-year-old Josh Coates’ experience of its Level 3 Workboat Crew Member Apprenticeship for which it is currently recruiting.

Josh is an apprentice for Williams Shipping and says getting to work in all areas of the company to see what best suits you, teamed with on-the-job training are real positives of the apprenticeship. At Williams Shipping the Workboat Crew Member role encompasses a wide range of duties including communications, risk assessments, navigation and vessel handling, berthing, towing operations, anchor handling, personnel transfers and cargo handling.

“Meeting new people as well as learning all types of ways to do things, plus the practical skills learnt will be really helpful later in life. Four of my closest friends are doing apprenticeships and three of those I met on this apprenticeship.”

The two-year programme offered by the Isle of Wight based charity, which provides life-enhancing water-based adventures, education, and world-leading maritime training, is designed to give the apprentice all the skills, knowledge and behaviours to work on a wide variety of specialist vessels. These range from tugs and multi-purpose workboats to fast pilot boats and crew transfer vessels, taking personnel out to vessels or installations offshore.

Josh said of his choice for an apprenticeship:

“I chose the apprenticeship pathway because of the fantastic experiences learning on the job. All my training is paid for while I’m getting more out of it than a regular job. As I’m not a reading person and don’t like sitting at a desk, the apprenticeship is great. Everything is hands-on whether that’s sorting the lines or banking the cranes.

“Becoming qualified with various tickets is my favourite thing. Once I’d completed my AEC 1&2, I was able to confidently work on diesel engines and various other equipment which was great. It would be a dream to eventually captain a vessel and have my own deckhands whilst leading the team on jobs.”

UKSA senior education coordinator, Philip Hoar, said:

“This apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity for an individual looking for a career in the fast-growing maritime workboat industry. Future employment opportunities range from offshore support vessels for major offshore wind farms to dredging with a huge variety of roles onboard.  If you’re looking for a real adventure working in this dynamic maritime sector in a range of exciting locations and weather conditions, we’d love to hear from you.”

Workboats operate in varying marine environments such as construction of offshore wind farms, providing a range of services within a port or inland waterways, including surveys and towage.

No previous experience is necessary, however every apprentice is required to pass the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)’s ENG 1 medical requirements.

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