Maritime Skills course
OBAN’S Argyll College, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), is recruiting students for Maritime Skills courses which aim to tap into job opportunities on Argyll’s coastline.
There is a ‘sleeping giant’ of employment on the waves explains Don Mitchell, who has spent three years designing the seamanship courses to tap into that potential. Argyll and Bute boasts 23 inhabited islands - more than any other Scottish local authority - and 96.5 per cent of its population living within 10km of the coast.
Mr Mitchell, Head of Curriculum for Maritime, Sport and Creative Industries at Argyll College UHI, said: ‘Argyll has a rich and diverse sea based heritage, and a thriving community of businesses afloat. We have a growing sector locally that requires suitably qualified workers to support development in the marine tourism, fish farming and aquaculture industries, and supply a workforce with the skill-set and knowledge to work safely out on the water.
‘ We also recognize that the maritime sector is a global market that is growing with seaborne trade predicted to double by 2030. Students on our new Maritime Skills and RYA courses will gain a set of industry recognized qualifications which will assist them in following the seafaring route as a vocational journey, or simply learn how to be safe on the water for leisure boating pursuits.’
‘Marine Tourism contributes £ 360m to per year to the Scottish Economy,’ added Daniel Steel, Chief Executive of Sail Scotland, ‘and in an area like Argyll where an estimated 80 per cent of the population live within 1km of the sea, it’s obviously of enormous importance. So it’s wonderful to see Argyll College UHI expanding their range of Maritime Education opportunities to meet the needs of the region’s young people, and in support of the national marine tourism strategy.’
Argyll College is currently recruiting students for its 20 week Short Full Time Maritime Skills course, which combines SQA and RYA/ MCA certification to give a comprehensive introduction to the maritime industries, including commercial sea fishing, the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy, Maritime Search and Rescue, marine leisure and sailing, commercial sea fishing, aquaculture, ports and harbour industries.
The course, with possible fee assistance for eligible students, combines practical and theory based activity including smallboat based activities on the water using the college’s new 6.5m Humber Ocean Pro RIB, giving access for up to 30 students to practical water based activities.
Don and one of the courses’ five tutors, powerboat instructor Derek Grier, demonstrated the college’s new black RIB in the Firth of Lorn, and even gave the Oban Times an exhilarating shot in the driver’s seat, riding the waves around Oban, Kerrera and Dunbeg, and across the Falls of Lora tidal race below Connel Bridge.
Argyll College UHI has already the delivered Skills for Work Maritime Skills Course for senior pupils in Lochgilphead High School and Dunoon Grammar in 2015-16, and it has 15 Oban High School pupils ready to start the same course in June for the academic year 2016-17.
It thanked the maritime community in Argyll for being hugely supportive, and providing expertise and facilities to get the courses underway, in particular thanking Tarbert Harbour Association and Holy Loch Marina, Ardfern Marina, Oban Yacht Club, Craignish Boat Club, Oban Bay Community Berthing Ltd and Swordfish Marine at Holyloch who fitted out the RIB.
Fraser Durie, Principal of Argyll College, added: ‘We would like to congratulate Caledonian MacBrayne on successfully winning the Clyde and Hebridean Ferries contract. We very much look forward to working with them as we strive to expand our curriculum in line with the area’s maritime economy in support of our coastal communities.’
Left Don Mitchell Right Derek Grier