CalMac apprentices set course for a career at sea

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The first intake on a new hospitality modern apprenticeship aimed at the merchant marine industry are about to embark on their new careers.

A partnership between City of Glasgow College and CalMac will see the nine successful apprentices take up full-time roles as stewards with the company.

The year-long MA Hospitality with Maritime Enhancements involved classroom learning mixed with time aboard some of CalMac’s 32 vessels.

CalMac managing director Martin Dorchester said: ‘Although many elements of the hospitality industry 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 firefighting, first aid, rescue boat operations and other tasks vital for keeping passengers safe.

‘This new MA, the first of it kind in the UK, ensures our crews get the best, most relevant training.’

The apprentices are now qualified in hospitality (SCQF Level 5), maritime studies (SQA Level 2) and elementary food hygiene (Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland Level 2).

Last year CalMac carried more than five million passengers to 26 islands and remote mainland locations across the west coast.

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 career.’