Serco Northlink Ferries has been commended by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, for developing young people from Shetland and Orkney and becoming the first and only ferry operator in Scotland to receive the highest Investors in People accreditation.
As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2019, 11 apprentices with NorthLink Ferries met the Minister at NorthLink’s Stromness office where they discussed the benefits of modern apprenticeships and the opportunities being presented to them by Serco, the operator of the lifeline ferry service.
Engine rating apprentice John Breck, from Birsay, Orkney, started with NorthLink Ferries at 17 and has been working towards becoming a qualified Able Seafarer, Engine by summer 2019. Alongside his fellow apprentices on the ships – Ross Linklater (19), Rhys Missenden (18), Ross Gray (19) and Ryan Urquhart (21) – he has also been attending the NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway, Shetland to attain the relevant qualifications. The apprentices regularly sail on NorthLink’s vessels to gain the required sea time needed to become qualified Deck or Engine Able Seafarers.
20-year-old Coral Cumming is one of six shore side apprentices and has been working in customer services. During her time with NorthLink Ferries, Coral has completed her Business and Administration SVQ qualification and has been attending Orkney College in Kirkwall. Based at the Stromness office alongside NorthLink’s wider management, freight, marketing and operations teams has allowed Coral and the other apprentices to integrate with the full workings of the company.
Serco NorthLink Ferries has been recognised for the support it gives its apprentices with a silver accreditation in Investors in Young People. The organisation is the first and only ferry operator in Scotland to receive a gold standard by Investors in People and a Health and Wellbeing Award.
Apprentices have been found through NorthLink Ferries involvement with Developing the Young Workforce Orkney. Since 2017, the team has regularly worked with the organisation to aid and identify career opportunities for local young people, including supporting initiatives such as CV workshops, ship visits for school pupils, work experience placements and apprenticeships.
Many apprentices have gone onto find full-time careers with NorthLink Ferries. Kayleigh Young (21) and Cristy Tulloch (20) are permanent members of the customer services team and are continuing to study at Shetland College to gain an SVQ level 3 in Business Administration.