Apprentice Partnership Highly Commended

A unique relationship between City of Glasgow College and Caledonian MacBrayne was Highly Commended at this year's Tes FE Awards.

The partnership received the accolade in the Apprenticeship Programme of the Year category for its maritime apprenticeship.

The agreement sees all training for CalMac's Deck, Engine and Hospitality Ratings delivered at City of Glasgow College where previously the ferry operator’s engineering and deck apprentices had to travel to South Shields Marine College near Newcastle for the class based part of their training.

Dianne MacVicar and fellow student, Brendan MacPhee, are both deck cadets with ferries operating in the Hebrides. Both started their apprenticeships in September after successfully securing their roles from over 600 applications. For 26 year old Brendan, it was the change of career he needed:

“I was a joiner to trade but wasn’t enjoying it. My partner’s father works on boats which got me interested and when the traineeships came up I decided to go for it.

I’m really enjoying the apprenticeship. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. My only regret is not doing it earlier. Ideally I’d like to stay with CalMac, get fully qualified and perhaps start climbing the ladder.”

For Dianne the apprenticeship allows her to spend more time at sea:

“A lot of my family work in the fishing industry so I was always used to being around boats. This apprenticeship is great because we get a lot of time at sea which I prefer to sitting in a class. I’ve always wanted to work at sea and I’d like to stay with CalMac, get all the necessary qualifications and see where they can take me.”

The ongoing partnership between City of Glasgow College and CalMac also includes a year-long MA Hospitality with Maritime Enhancements which is the first of its kind in the UK. It involves class based learning at the college together with time spent training on-board some of CalMac's 32-strong fleet. Its first qualified apprentices graduated in November 2017 and have taken up full time roles as stewards with the ferry operator.

Jane McQueen, Curriculum Head for Hospitality at City of Glasgow College, said:

“Our apprentices work extremely hard over the year helping cement the success of our partnership with CalMac. Our college values the importance employers play in shaping our curriculum, it helps to create a highly skilled and adaptable workforce for the future.”

On receiving the Highly Commended at the Tes Awards, Alex Hunter, Head of Learning and Development for CalMac, said:

"Caledonian MacBrayne is proud to have been working in partnership with City of Glasgow College since 2015 to deliver an innovative Modern Apprenticeship route for Deck, Engine and Hospitality Ratings - together we are leading the way in the maritime sector with this flagship programme.”