Brightlingsea Harbour is helping to give young people the skills the marine industry through its apprentice scheme.
Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners (BHC) took on apprentice Ellie – see below – last year and will shortly begin interviews to employ another. With a recent survey showing that 75% of businesses in the industry were concerned about an ageing workforce, the harbour has been keen to do its bit to help address a skills shortage in a sector that has many opportunities.
Seeking to create a well-trained and fully employable operative, BHC decided to add advanced boat handling skills, a medical, VHF operator's licence, first aid, sea survival a PPR course and commercial endorsement to the basic Level 2 Apprentice schedule. The trainee also gains work experience at other marine businesses and help to find an employer after the 18-month two two-year 'earn while you learn' Marina & Boatyard Operative apprenticeship.
"The long term benefit to the Harbour is not obvious, however the former apprentice will help the industry move forward and endure which means Brightlingsea Harbour will continue to serve customers well into the future," said Harbour Master James Thomas.
On completion the candidate will have achieved a Level 2 as a Marina & Boatyard Operative along with an RYA Advanced Power Boat Commercially Endorsed licence, allowing for the candidate to work on commercial vessels up to 24m in length, operating in waters up to 20 miles from a safe haven. Typical tasks include vessel handling, lifting, launching, pressure washing, the storage of vessels ashore and the berthing and movement of vessels on the water. Operatives may undertake specialisms in retail, fuel, rigging, or lock and bridge operation.
Brightlingsea Harbour takes on one new apprentice a year in May. There is a fixed salary with increases over the 18 months based on qualifications and skills gained during the apprenticeship. The apprenticeship is full time, with some weekend and unsocial working hours required. There will also be a requirement to undertake training at other marine service suppliers.
Minimum application requirements are as follows:
To apply, or for more information please send CV or requests to the Deputy Harbour Master, Brightlingsea Harbour Office, 4 Copperas Road, Brightlingsea, Essex, CO7 0AP or email [email protected]
"As a Brightlingsea Harbour apprentice I work in various roles within the harbour and with local marine service suppliers, gaining as much experience as I can to complete my training. I am part of the nationwide British Marine apprentice scheme, which is supported by Paragon Skills, who provide my educational support whilst I am here. I am undertaking the 18-month Marina and Boatyard Operative (Level 2) apprenticeship and I am one of the few females to be entering the industry on this scheme of which I am incredibly proud.
As an apprentice I cover a lot of the safety checks under the supervision of the Deputy Harbour Master; such as weekly testing of the fire alarms, fire extinguisher inspections, flushing through of the taps in the marina and much more. One of the first tasks I had to complete for my apprenticeship, to be able to work afloat, were my RYA power boat level 2 and VHF courses. I completed these with Essex Marine Training around Brightlingsea Harbour and the Colne Estuary. I was then able to work on the water which meant I could really start to complete some of my training.
I was soon confident enough to skipper the water taxi, foot ferry and harbour tours after some further training with the Duty Harbour Masters. I’ve also learnt how the office side of the harbour works, taking ferry bookings and dealing with customers when they are wanting to pay their mooring fees. I also have input into mooring allocations which is helpful as I learn where all the boats will be in the upcoming season.
The best job is the water taxi; I get to know each mooring holder ,where their boat is allocated and the name. A Brightlingsea Harbour apprentice has many different roles and challenges; there are jobs that I do not enjoy as much as others, these are typically the ones that are very repetitive such as pressure washing the pontoons, I like doing different jobs within the day which really makes the time go quickly!
Each week we have a fuel delivery and I help manage the fuel stock levels as one of my many roles. I will go up to our fuel berth and assist while the fuel is dispensed. Once complete, I lock up and complete the paperwork. Another role I have is to remove all fixtures and fittings from the pontoons over Winter, so the pontoons can be serviced ready for the following season. This means removing over 250 name plates and space markings, then in four months’ time I get to put them all back again!
I've completed much of my apprenticeship here at Brightlingsea Harbour, though there are several tasks I am required to undertake which I need to go to other places to do. In October 2020 I spent two weeks away from the harbour working with The Pioneer Sailing Trust and Morgan Marine which increased my skill set, I learnt different methods of work and adapted to other people’s ways of working. I had a fantastic time at both, and really hope I can spend some more time at both before completing my apprenticeship."