Feb 25


Byline: During National Apprenticeship Week 3–7 March 2014 the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is announcing a new engineering apprenticeship programme that will offer six new places year on year.
Page Content: This will lead to a 24-strong apprenticeship programme annually by 2018 – doubling* the current numbers.

The sought after apprenticeship roles will help to provide the specialist skills the charity needs as it brings all-weather lifeboat production and maintenance in-house for the first time at the charity’s new All-weather Lifeboat Centre (ALC) in Poole, Dorset.

The ALC will be the first facility of its kind in the UK, aiming to be a world-class centre of engineering excellence. It is currently being built and is due to open at the end of this year. Once appointed, the six new recruits will start in September on the four year programme. They will be playing a part in lifeboat manufacturing and maintenance, providing the best possible lifeboats to help protect the charity’s volunteer crew when they risk their lives to save others at sea. The move is timely for several reasons:

• With high youth unemployment**, apprenticeships provide a vital way of equipping young people with the skills they need to achieve employment. RNLI apprenticeships will create new employment opportunities available to those aged 16 or over and will contribute to industry by increasing engineering and boat building skills within the workforce for future generations.

• Against a backdrop of predicted skills shortages, particularly in areas like engineering, apprenticeships will be essential for the RNLI in recruiting and nurturing specialist talent to help the charity build and maintain the next generation of lifeboats at the new ALC.

• According to research, engineering careers are seen as less attractive or uncreative by many young people***. The RNLI is aiming to inspire them to consider a career in marine engineering as the apprentices will get to work within the charity’s new state-of-the-art facility and experience first-hand what it is like to be part of a team using the latest technology to push the boundaries and improve lifesaving at sea. RNLI apprentices will learn from the best in the industry, drawing from knowledge built up over centuries by a charity that has always been at the forefront of lifeboat design. The apprentices will be helping to build the most advanced lifeboats that will go on to play a vital role in saving many lives.

Dorset-based Courtney Mitchell, aged 20, RNLI Apprentice Marine Engineer and in his second year of the charity’s current programme said: ‘I’ve learnt a lot so far on the programme, everything from stripping down engines to boat hull fit outs. It’s been really worthwhile. After I finish the apprenticeship, I would like to go on to become a fully qualified lifeboat maintenance technician with the RNLI, and work my way up from there. It’s great to see the RNLI’s All-weather Lifeboat Centre developing; it’s going to be an amazing facility and I definitely plan to apply for a job there.

‘The best thing about working at the RNLI is knowing that the lifeboats you are working on save lives at sea. I often think about that while I’m working, and I’m proud to be one of the people helping to keep them in good working order for the volunteer crew.’

The RNLI has been running an apprenticeship programme for 15 years and is already experienced in training young people in marine electronics and marine mechanical engineering. Future skills will include mechanical, electronic and electrical engineering and composite laminating. Expanding the apprenticeship programme for the new All-weather Lifeboat Centre is the first step in establishing a wider apprenticeship, traineeship and work experience programme for the whole charity.

To find out more about RNLI apprenticeships, visit RNLI.org/jobs.

*From 2014 the RNLI will have boosted its apprenticeship numbers from an average of three per year (over the last five years) to 6 per year (as each apprenticeship lasts 4 years that give a 24-strong programme of apprentices annually by 2018. This means in-take will increase by 100% in preparation for the ALC becoming fully operational in 2019.

** Figures from the Office for National Statistics (October 2013) show 115,000 18 to 24-year-olds have been unemployed for longer than two years. Also, according to Labour Force Survey statistics 282,000 under-25s have been jobless for a year or more - the highest level since 1993. The number of people under 25 without a job for a year or more went from 266,000 in 2012 to 282,000 in September 2013.

*** Research was undertaken by Vision Critical on behalf of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week. The poll of 1000 children aged 11-14 years old and 1000 parents of children aged 11-14 years old based in England and Wales was conducted between 18th and 24th October 2013.

Notes to editors
• The RNLI apprenticeship roles will include marine electronics engineers and mechanical engineers. RNLI apprentices benefit from ‘earning while they are learning,’ with their college fees covered by Government funding if they are between 16 to 18 year olds and 19 to 24 year olds receive 50 per cent of government funding with the remainder made up by the employer.
• In addition to gaining essential career and life skills, apprentices receive a formal qualification fully recognised within the marine sector and on-going training and mentoring on the job.
• To qualify for the programme candidates will need to demonstrate an interest in a career in a marine environment, a willingness to learn, good team-working skills and GCSEs grade C in English and Maths.

RNLI media contacts
For more information, contact Pamela Saunders, RNLI Public Relations Officer, on 01202 336260 / pamela_saunders@rnli.org.uk or Roselyne Crowther on 01202 662218 / roselyne_crowther@rnli.org.uk or RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.

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