Eight students received awards for their academic achievements at the NAFC Marine Centre’s 19th annual prize-giving recently from former principal Morgan Goodlad.
NAFC director David Gray said since being established 17 years ago, the centre was still very much focused on supporting Shetland’s marine industries.
He said: “Last year the oil industry was worth a massive £80 million to the Shetland economy, while the combined marine industries were worth £300 million.
“This community and the economy are based on the marine industries and the sea. We at the NAFC are here to help ensure those industries receive the support they need and that our marine resource is managed effectively today and into the future.
“Today we celebrate the students who have trained with us to go out into that modern marine industry. We recognise their commitment and huge amount of dedication.”
Professor Gray told the students: “We’ve given you the opportunity and knowledge to continue your education through professional development to ensure that you always remain at the sharp end of your career.
“The centre will remain here to support you as you move on in that career and hopefully you’ll come back to build on your education. On behalf of everyone, I’d like to wish you all the very best for your future.”
Mr Goodlad said: “The setting up of the fisheries college was one of the best and most important decisions the council made. I wonder where Shetland’s marine industries would be today without the ongoing work and support of the NAFC Marine Centre.”
Scooping the first award of the afternoon was David Anderson from Culloden, Inverness, who won the Bells Nautical Trust prize for outstanding effort by a deck cadet.
Shetland School of Nautical Studies head Jan Rigden said: “David has been a hard-working and extremely mature student who applied himself to the utmost throughout the programme. He consistently performed at the highest level in all class work and assessments, and will make an outstanding officer in the Merchant Navy.”
Mr Anderson said: “I wasn’t expecting to win but the award will certainly help me in future job opportunities. I’d like to thank all my lecturers for their support – if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have got this far.”
Second on the stage was Richard Eunson from Whalsay who was presented with the Clyde Marine Training – Deck award, a prize presented by the company to their best sponsored deck cadet.
Mr Rigden said: “Richard’s attendance and application has been great. He has always performed well and his sense of humour has been a real asset in class, particularly when studying more difficult subjects.”
Mr Eunson said: “I’m delighted to win this award, which will help me in my future career. Studying at the NAFC Marine Centre has been a really good experience.”
The Forbes Watt prize for Navigation – Merchant Navy was presented to Edward Nicolson from Cullivoe in Yell, whose application and attention to detail while studying for his Certificate of Competency ensured he was able to obtain excellent written results.
Mark Laurenson from Burra was awarded the SVQ Level 2 Fishing Vessel Operations for showing good all round ability and producing his log book to a very high standard. He is now employed on his training vessel Guiding Light. Next up was Magnus Laurenson of Burra who won the North Star Shipping award for outstanding effort by an engineer cadet.
Head of engineering Duncan Kidson said: “From day one Magnus put a huge amount of effort into his studies and consistently achieved good results. Ironically, since gaining his Certificate of Competency, he is now working for the award-sponsor, North Star Shipping.”
Michael Amedro of Lerwick won the Clyde Marine Training – Engineering prize as the company’s best sponsored engineering cadet.
Mr Kidson said: “Throughout his programme, Michael has been an extremely conscientious and dedicated cadet who set very high standards for himself and invariably achieved them.”
Mr Amedro said: “It’s very nice to win and I wouldn’t have done so without the help of all my lecturers and the support of colleagues. I’ve had a brilliant time and hopefully I’ll return to the centre to continue my studies in the future.”
The NAFC Marine Centre Engineering Modern Apprentice of the Year award went to Robert Garrick of Scalloway.
Mr Kidson said: “Robert learned a wide range of skills while studying at the centre, which he has since put to good use in his workplace training with Lerwick Fish Traders.”
Finally, the Jim Tait Prize for Aquaculture was awarded to Grant McNab from Weisdale. His mentor, aquaculture development manager Kenny Gifford, said: “Grant was one of my first students and really excelled because of the performance evidence he produced as part of his Level 2 qualification. He went above and beyond what was required.”