The NAFC Marine Centre plays a critical role in launching the careers of some of the world’s most talented seafarers, a shipping industry leader said today as he handed out prizes to top performing students.
Guy Platten, chief executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping, praised the “excellent” work done at the centre in Scalloway, during a short ceremony to mark the achievements of cadets in 2014.
Among the prizewinners were Andrew White, skipper of the Copious, who won the Jeanette Williamson Prize; Mark Leech, of Subsea 7, who took home both the Bells Nautical Trust Deck Cadet and Clyde Marine Deck Cadet prizes; and Thomas Stewart, of Solstad, who picked up the Northern Lighthouse Board Prize – Deck.
Mr Platten said it was a huge honour to be asked to present the prizes given his long connection with Shetland, which stretched back to his days as an inspector with the RNLI and working for the Northern Lighthouse Board.
He told the prizewinners and invited guests: “You’ve had a first-rate introduction to a maritime career here. The NAFC Marine Centre is an excellent college.
“And this is an industry where if you work hard, the future can be whatever you want it to be.”
Mr Platten emphasised that more and more graduate students would be required to meet a doubling of global sea trade in the next 20 years.
He said: “The world’s ship owners will need more first class seafarers like those who come out of the NAFC than ever before.
“We need to create a new seafaring generation, for young people of all backgrounds and from all walks of life to go to sea, learn new skills, reach out to every corner of the globe and then, eventually, return home to use those skills to maintain the UK’s role as a world leader in maritime business services.
“In short, we need more people like you.”
NAFC Marine Centre director Willie Shannon said he was delighted Mr Platten had accepted the invitation to present the prizes and pointed out that the Centre was held up as an exemplar because it focused on the marine sector and met industry requirements.
Experienced staff, small class sizes and attention to detail meant the centre had a high rate of retention among students and a high success rate.
There are currently more than 270 students on one to three-year programmes at the Centre. Hundreds of further students attend short courses during the year.
The full list of winners at today’s ceremony is:
Jeanette Williamson Prize – Class 2 fishing award sponsored by Hunter and Morrison Trust: Winner – Andrew White (skipper, Copious)
Forbes Watt Prize for Navigation – sponsored by Hunter and Morrison Trust: Winner – David Thomson (SIC Ferries)
Northern Lighthouse Board Prize – Deck : Winner – Thomas Stewart (Solstad)
Northern Lighthouse Board Prize – Engineering: Winner – Stuart Donald (Vroon)
NAFC Modern Apprentice of the Year: Winner – Lewis Sykes (LFT Grieg Hjaltland)
Bells Nautical Trust Deck Cadet: Winner – Mark Leech (Subsea 7)
North Star Shipping Engineering Cadet: Winner – Jason Park (DOF)
Clyde Marine Deck Cadet: Winner – Mark Leech (Subsea 7)
Clyde Marine Engineering Cadet: Winner – Magnus Isbister (GulfMark)
Nautical Institute Prize: Winner – Christopher Anderson (Fletcher Shipping)
Jim Thomas Memorial Prize: Winner – Alexander Nunn-Thompson (Scottish Sea Farms)