Pictured above are the latest modern apprentices to join the CalMac programme – a fleet of young people who are starting their maritime career on the company's Modern Apprenticeship Programme.
A total of 20 people from across the ferry network successfully applied for the sought-after scheme and are currently training at college in Glasgow.
They will soon move onto the fleet’s major vessels for the practical part of their course.
The scheme is designed to help young people who are passionate about the maritime sector gain essential qualifications and the experience necessary for a successful career within the sector, and most importantly with CalMac.
This year’s intake includes people from places such as Stornoway, Benbecula, North Uist, Greenock and Rothesay.
Tanya Mackay, from Stornoway, said: “Having spoken to those working for CalMac and that have gone through the apprenticeship, they’ve always been positive and enthusiastic about their jobs. I am looking forward to learning new skills and doing a job that is varied each day. I like the idea of working for two weeks and then being back home for two weeks, and this gives me the chance to stay on the Isle of Lewis and not move away."
Upon completion of the programme, apprentices will have an opportunity to transition into permanent roles as Seaman 1b’s, the Engine Rating Trainees into permanent roles as Motormen, and the Retail Rating Trainees into permanent roles as Senior Catering Ratings. They will then be based on vessels across the network.
There are three options within the programme – Engine Deck Rating, Retail and Catering, and Deck Rating. All apprentices will train and study at the City of Glasgow College on courses of between 12 and 16 months.
Wendy McAnerney, Learning and Development Manager for CalMac, said: “Welcome aboard to our 2022 intake of apprentices, and we wish them all the very best during their time with CalMac. They will gain valuable work experience, working alongside highly skilled crew members, which will set them up for a career at sea. The programme is a great career development opportunity for young people from our localities, as it also provides new jobs and supports the local economy.”"
Above, Natalie Mackay, 18, Stornoway, catering, school leaver (sister to Tanya): "I enjoyed studying maritime at school, as well as hospitality and health and food technology. When I saw this apprenticeship being advertised, I thought that it would be a good balance between those subjects. This was my main reason for applying. I really enjoyed our trip to the Caley Isles during the first week and seeing what the job consists of. It’s also good to be on this course with people who are training in different areas, it gives me an idea of what those roles involve."
Above, Craig MacRitchie, aged 17, doing engineering, from Stornoway: "I left school after S4 and began working at the Stornoway Port Authority, and had heard about the MA programme, which is what I was aiming for. I am a crofter back at home and look after the sheep, so this job allows me to be at home for two weeks at a time. I have been crofting since I was 10. Working a nine to five job as well as the crofting would be very, very difficult. This was a big attraction. I am a practical learner, I get stuck in, and after six weeks at college, we are on the boats. My cousin is a motorman, he was also a MA. I am learning new skills, engineering is a new challenge, it is not just common sense."
Above, John A MacLean, 23, Lochmaddy, retail: "I worked as a port assistant at Lochmaddy for four and a half years, and also coming from North Uist, I knew how important the ferries are to islanders. I thought that it would be a good career move to get onto the vessels, and I am looking forward to getting onto the ferries and meeting more people."