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UK doubles funding for cadet training

9 February 2018

The United Kingdom has doubled the funding for maritime training, following lobbying by the shipping industry and trade unions.

Government funding under the Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) scheme will increase annually over seven years to grow from GBP15 million to reach GBP30 million. As a result, the intake of UK cadets is set to rise by 60 percent from 750 to 1,200 a year.

The UK Chamber of Shipping and trade union Nautilus had called on the British government to double the funds allocated to cadet training, and places will be available at maritime schools and further education colleges around the country. Forty shipping companies have pledged to create an extra 450 training positions on their ships to guarantee first jobs to cadets, and enable them to progress to their second certificate of competency.

Welcoming the move, Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson commented that it was: "A significant achievement and we are delighted that the government has listened to the strength of the case that we have put forward." Although he described the extra funding as "small change", he said it would make a massive difference to the supply and demand of British seafarers.

The extra funding was also welcomed by maritime union RMT, but national secretary Steve Todd added concern that the current apprenticeship route for ratings was not delivering the training schemes required to replace the current generation of UK ratings, of whom over half are expected to retire by 2023.

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