Sunseeker International will be taking on 28 new marine apprentices for the 2015/16 academic year, the company’s highest intake for four years

Poole-based boat manufacturer Sunseeker International has announced that it will be expanding its marine apprenticeship scheme for the 2015/16 academic year.

The firm will be taking on a total of 28 apprentices in September, which will be its highest intake since 2011.

Courses cover a wide range of specialist skills ranging from marine engineering to carpentry, with successful candidates spending four days a week working in the Poole factory. The fifth day is spent in the classroom at nearby Bournemouth & Poole College.

Olivia Richards-Smith (pictured above) is a current Sunseeker apprentice who is studying for a Level 3 marine engineering qualification:

“If you’re looking for a career in the marine sector this scheme really sets you up for your future no matter what route you’re going to follow,” she said.

“My work colleagues, college tutor and the apprenticeship coordinator have all been really supportive to help me gain the qualifications and open up great career prospects.”

Industry options

Sunseeker is just one of a wide range of marine firms offering apprenticeships, with other prominent companies including Princess Yachts, Pendennis, Broom Boats, the RNLI and Berthon Boat Company, which was named Medium Employer of the Year at the 2012 Apprenticeship Awards.

In fact, 62% of marine firms currently employ at least one apprentice, which is more than three times the average for British business as a whole.

This is one of the reasons why the Government included the marine industry in its Phase 3 Trailblazers scheme, which is currently reshaping these training courses to make them more focussed on the employer’s needs.

Sarah Dhanda, senior federation director at the British Marine Federation, said: “By developing marine apprenticeships further we are ensuring the continued quality of the industry’s training programme.

“We will be preserving much needed skills and ensuring the sector is well placed for the future, whilst crucially maintaining a strong profile both in government and with young people.”

First-year apprentices are paid at least £2.73 per hour while they learn, and this basic salary can rise to more than £8 per hour on a four-year course.

Despite a final employment rate of more than 90%, the latest government figures show that the number of apprenticeship starters in the UK fell from 510,000 in 2012/13 to 440,000 in 2013/14.

To find out more about becoming an apprentice, visit apprenticeships.gov.uk