We are delighted to have marked the start of National Apprenticeship Week today by sponsoring a Maritime UK roundtable at our head office in London.

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) takes place between 5 to 11 February 2024 and is an opportunity for the education and skills sector to celebrate the achievements of apprentices around the country and the positive impact they make to communities, businesses, and the wider economy. Today’s event helps to celebrate the role that apprenticeships play in developing the skills needed to ensure a competitive and sustainable maritime sector.

The roundtable brought together apprentices from across the sector to share their experiences and included a session with employers, who shared best practice and identified areas for collaboration.

Partners from government also heard directly from maritime employers about how apprenticeship programmes could be better supported by skills delivery bodies.

We were especially glad to have welcomed two of our apprentices to take part in the discussion – Ben from Appledore and Victoria from Belfast. Both are apprentice welders and joined Harland & Wolff in September 2023.

The future of the maritime sector is tremendously important to us, and it was wonderful to see so much support for the development and prospects for apprentices who wish to pursue careers within maritime.

Harland & Wolff’s apprenticeship programme was first launched in 2021 and is designed to equip young people leaving school and college with the skills required to forge a rewarding and long-term career in shipbuilding and marine fabrication. Over 150 apprentices have so far taken part in the scheme, with 2024 set to boost those numbers significantly.

Apprenticeship opportunities are available at each of Harland & Wolff’s four manufacturing sites; and in three skill areas – trades, business support and technical. The variety of opportunities on offer aim to provide apprentices with a wide range of transferable skills to navigate the ever-changing maritime industry.

Those joining the scheme could have the opportunity to work on the next generation of Fleet Solid Support ships the company is helping build through to working on green sources of energy such as offshore wind turbine foundations. All with support of skilled tradespeople committed to share their knowledge and skills to future generations of maritime professionals.

Director of Talent, David Honeyman, said, “It’s never been a more exciting time to consider a shipbuilding and engineering apprenticeship with Harland & Wolff. Whether you’re a school or college leaver, our apprenticeships ensure your career gets off to the best possible start. You’ll work alongside and be mentored by experienced colleagues and be encouraged to share your ideas and fresh perspectives. We’ve set course to not only build the finest vessels, but to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive skilled workforce able deliver high standards of performance through trust, creativity and teamwork.”

Matthew Cosby, who joined the scheme in June 2022 said, “I left school not really knowing what I wanted to do next but the opportunity to learn a practical trade and earn money at the same time made me want to apply. Two years later, I’m now training as a Welder and worked on some really interesting projects at the Belfast yard where I’m based.”