City of Glasgow College on board for new hospitality skills academy

A new training initiative between City of Glasgow College and the TS Queen Mary has been formally announced.

The college and the Friends of TS Queen Mary – the charity behind the restoration of the historic steamship – will provide training and employment opportunities on board the ship for students wishing to enter the hospitality industry.

Paul Little, Principal and Chief Executive of City of Glasgow College said:

“The TS Queen Mary represents an important part of this great city’s maritime history. Our students are very much part of that heritage, with over 300 having played a role in the vessel’s restoration.

“Establishing the TS Queen Mary Skills and Training Academy will provide our hospitality and culinary students with a real world learning environment. We have seen the impact the pandemic has had on this vital industry, so innovative training offers like this are more important than ever in aiding its recovery.”

The College will work with Friends of TS Queen Mary to create learning experiences, training students to prepare them for working on the ship, before being given the opportunity for employment on-board. It is expected the operation of the ship will create 40 full time jobs which, as far as possible, will be given to young people.

Iain Sim, Chair of Friends of TS Queen Mary, said:

“The TS Queen Mary is a unique part of our heritage and it is our aim to restore the ship to its former glory, and open it as a heritage destination and education centre for future generations to enjoy. Through this new Academy we are starting to see this vision come to life. We will be able to help hospitality students get valuable training and work experience on the ship and we hope, in the future, to work with the College to expand the Academy into other disciplines.”

The new training academy is supported by The Watson Foundation, set up by John Watson OBE, former Chair and Chief Executive of printing company John Watson and Co. Ltd. John Watson said:

“This is an inspiring development which will have far reaching benefits for young people. It offers a unique perspective on hospitality training while embracing the rich maritime heritage of TS Queen Mary. We applaud this collaboration between City of Glasgow College and Friends of TS Queen Mary, and are delighted to be supporting it.”

The TS Queen Mary was built in 1933. The 252 foot ‘pocket liner’ is the original Queen Mary. She gave up her name in 1934 in deference to Cunard’s new liner (becoming TS Queen Mary II) before reclaiming it in 1976. She has a rich history and carried some of the most prominent people of the 20th century, including King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and Eleanor Roosevelt in 1942 as part of their tour of Britain.

The largest and most luxurious steamship to serve Glasgow and the West of Scotland, the TS Queen Mary is a unique part of British heritage. The last of her kind in the world, she is under the care of the Friends of TS Queen Mary who have been responsible for raising and investing more than £3 million towards her upkeep and restoration.