Hot on the tail of winning the British Marine Federation (BMF) 2009 Training Award, Lymington based Berthon has successfully led a consortium of marine companies which include New Forest businesses such as Discovery Yachts at Marchwood, Griffon Hoverwork in Hythe, Scorpion RIBs in Lymington and from further afield, SYS in Southampton and Moody Deck in Fareham in a project that will support the employment of 60 apprentices over a two year period, with a total value of £880,000 funded from the Government’s Apprenticeship Expansion Programme to improve skills across the local marine industry. Berthon received strong support from the BMF together with Paragon Skills who actually carry out the training, and vital backing from Marine South East.
The investment will be used to pay the wages of apprentices for the next two years and support their specific training needs, reducing costs for local businesses and assisting profitability in a difficult period. It represents a major boost for skills and employment in the marine sector where the competence learnt from a full four-year apprenticeship is clearly greater than in other industries; and to encourage wider participation there are currently a limited number of part-funded unallocated apprenticeship places available to local marine companies. These places will ensure that apprentice support is available to companies throughout the marine supply chain.
Brian May, MD of Berthon commented:
“Renewed Government support for skills based careers has given impetus to a higher perception of apprenticeship schemes to both youngsters and their parents. We have been training apprentices for over 100 years, and more than half of the 70 people on our shop floor have come to us through our apprenticeship scheme as well as around half of our boatyard management team. Youngsters today realise that there are real career progression opportunities.”
Keith Longman, Yard Manager at Berthon said:
“We are committed to producing a strong local skill base and our hard work is paying off; we took on 8 apprentices last year and 9 this year, with the average age over 18 with one aged 25. Our total apprentice count currently stands at 23 and we have committed to taking on a further 8 this summer under this scheme.”
With a market value of nearly £62bn, the UK marine industry has a 3.1% share of the global marine market worth around £2 trillion. The South East marine industry includes some of the most innovative and high-tech companies, with a reputation for excellence and contributing skilled marine workers around the globe. The industry’s commitment to training is now being recognised with inclusion in this pilot Government programme.
The Apprenticeship Expansion Programme trials, which are being funded by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), will provide extra funding to employers who are currently running high quality apprenticeships. It aims to develop and test models which will allow employers to recruit and train additional apprentices in companies that are at the forefront of their industry. This will give them the appropriate skills to secure employment in the supply chain or elsewhere in the wider sector.