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.

The Oban Times - - News -

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

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