Two students at the Shetland School of Nautical Studies (SSNS) received the Northern Lighthouse Board Prize on Wednesday.
The award recognises academic achievement, excellence in assessment and/or project work and consistent professional performance by Merchant Navy officer cadets at the end of the second year of their training.
Liam Cumming from Hamnavoe and Derek Spence from Haroldswick each received a £1,000 prize at the NAFC Marine Centre from former chairman of the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses George Sutherland.
Liam commenced training as a deck cadet at SSNS after obtaining a BA in risk management at university in Glasgow, having always dreamt of becoming a deck officer in the Merchant Navy. As a mature student, he was said to be an excellent influence in the class and a pleasure to teach, performing to an extremely high level in any task he was set.
When Derek commenced his training as an engineer cadet, he was too young to stay in the on-site accommodation on campus and had to live with relatives for the first four months of his training until he was 16. Despite that he consistently performed to the highest level, studying with diligence both in class and outside, and was described as a pleasure to have as a class member and student.
Capt Sutherland said: “The Northern Lighthouse Board Prize represents a substantial reward to two exceptional students at the NAFC Marine Centre each year. This is the second time the prize has been awarded and I am again honoured to have been asked by the commissioners to present the cheques on their behalf.
“These are worthy winners and I am sure that the link established between the centre and the Northern Lighthouse Board will be of value to both, as well as to the prize winners, in years to come.”
The prize was funded by the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses 2000 Trust, a recognised Scottish Charity set up in 2000 to assist in the provision of training, education and support for Merchant Navy Officer Cadets.
The criteria for the award, given to one deck officer cadet and one engineering officer cadet, has been agreed between the school and the trust. Selection was decided by recommendations coming from the teaching staff at SSNS to the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses 2000 Trust.
Liam said: “I’m delighted to win and will be spending the prize money on books and other materials to help me in my studies. I finish this phase of training today and will be going to sea shortly.
“I’d like to thank the Northern Lighthouse Board for their very generous prize and for recognising my achievements. I’d also like to thank the lecturers and my classmates at the NAFC for their support during the year.”
Derek said: “I’m really pleased to win this prize and will buy a new laptop to help me with my college work. I’ll continue my current studies at the centre until July when I’ll be off to sea for the next phase of training.
“I, too, would like to thank the Northern Lighthouse Board for being so generous, as well as my lecturers and colleagues for their help and guidance during my studies.”
SSNS head Jan Rigden said: “I would like to thank the Northern Lighthouse Board for donating these prizes. It is pleasing, six years after the cadet programme started, to see the students we are producing being recognised across the industry and this prize is the latest recognition of their professionalism.”
NAFC Marine Centre director David Gray said: “These awards recognise the true excellence in the quality of the trainees that we send out into the workplace. There is no better praise than when companies come back to us and ask us for more students who are clearly flying the flag for the centre.
“As well as the Northern Lighthouse Board, I’d like to give thanks to the staff for the hard work they put into the training. In my opinion you’d be hard pushed to find a better qualified team than at the NAFC. I’d also like to thank the students who are committed and dedicated to doing this, as well as their families and friends – the support network who also want to see them reach their potential.”