The education and training sector is a particular strength within the UK’s maritime services. Although its primary role is to keep UK’s maritime organisations supplied with talented and highly qualified people, it is also part of the global offering through internationally known centres of excellence such as The Costas Grammenos Centre for Shipping Trade and Finance at Cass Business School in the City of London, the Institute of Maritime Law at Southampton University, Henley Business School and Warsash Maritime Academy.
The range of provision is very wide, reflecting the ‘one stop shop’ ethos of the UK’s maritime services as a whole, and includes professional training and updating as well as certification and award-bearing programmes in subjects as diverse as oceanography, marine engineering, naval architecture, maritime business and maritime law.
The range of courses on offer makes the UK particularly attractive to those wishing to study at postgraduate level, or to take the very highest professional qualifications. Most of the universities situated in or near to the UK’s major ports have specialist maritime departments, and industry-specific qualifications are available from professional bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, Association of Average Adjusters, and IMarEST. The sector also includes a number of highly-regarded commercial training companies such as Maritime Education & Training and organisations such as GAFTA which provides advanced and highly focused training modules to its members.
For those intent on pursuing a career at sea, there is no better starting point than one of the officer cadetships approved by the Merchant Navy Training Board which ensures that the programmes accurately reflect the needs of the shipping industry. Maritime London itself runs an officer cadet training scheme which provides funding for the training of around 20 cadets every year.
More experienced officers can go on to take higher certificates and CPD, including the advanced manned-model shiphandling training for Masters and pilots at the excellent Timsbury complex north of Southampton, one of very few in the world. Of course, not every officer wants to spend their entire career at sea, and UK-trained officers are in high demand around the world for a wide range of shore-based businesses, particularly surveying, maritime legal and insurance, where the skills and experience gained at sea are especially relevant.