The first intake of Islanders on a new hospitality Modern Apprenticeship aimed specifically at the merchant marine industry are about to embark on their new careers.
A partnership between City of Glasgow College and ferry operator CalMac, the nine successful MAs will now take up full time roles as stewards with the company.
The year-long MA Hospitality with Maritime Enhancements involved classroom learning mixed with time spent training on-board some of CalMac’s 32 strong fleet.
The concept was devised by CalMac specifically to fill a particular requirement they had for staff that was not being met.
“Although many elements of the hospitality industry, like good customer service, are the same whether on land or afloat our stewards need to do more than just look after our passengers’ comfort.
“They need to be trained in fire-fighting, first aid, rescue boat operations and other tasks vital for keeping passengers safe. This new MA, the first of it kind in the UK, now ensures our crews get the best, most relevant training that’s available, we know this because we helped design the course,’ said CalMac’s managing director, Martin Dorchester.
As well as on the job training the MAs are now all qualified in hospitality (SCQF Level 5), maritime studies (SQA Level 2) and elementary food hygiene (Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland Level 2).
‘This qualification, while designed specifically to meet our needs, will stand our MAs in good stead wherever they choose to take their career at sea. It also further strengthens the partnership we have with City of Glasgow College who already train our engineering and deck apprentices and we look forward to many more qualified MAs joining our crews,’ said Martin.
Jane McQueen, Curriculum Head for Hospitality at City of Glasgow College, said: “Our Modern Apprentices have worked extremely hard over the year so it was fantastic to celebrate their achievements, as well as the success of our partnership with CalMac.
“Our college values the importance employers play in shaping our curriculum. This helps to create a highly skilled and adaptable workforce for the future.”
Last year CalMac carried more than five million passengers to 26 islands and remote mainland locations across the west coast.
Modern Apprentice Lisa Marie Parkinson, from Oban said:
'A Modern Apprenticeship gives the best of both worlds, on the job training and college qualifications, that’s what attracted me to it. It’s a great first step towards building a long career and CalMac is a great company to start with.”
The photograph shows CalMac’s managing director, Martin Dorchester as he presents the successful MAs with their certificates. They are Lisa Marie Parkinson - Oban; Meryn Finlay - Inverness; Inna Georgiva - Isle of Lewis (originally from Bulgaria); Lucy Mcnee - Port Glasgow; Melissa Aitken - Oban; Craig Evans - Glasgow; Louise MacAuley - Harris; Katie Macdonald - South Uist; and Kathleen MacDonald - Glasgow