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Caledonian MacBrayne leads the UK with first maritime hospitality apprenticeship

A group of eight students is making history alongside CalMac with a brand new apprenticeship programme - the first of its type in the UK.

Along with City of Glasgow College, CalMac has developed a Modern Apprenticeship in hospitality with maritime enhancements.

The apprentices have completed their first stint of classroom training and are now joining their first ships.

New MA course

The new apprenticeship concept was the brainchild of CalMac to help fill a particular niche - while many of the elements of hospitality remain the same whether on land or at sea, there are additional requirements when one gets afloat.

Typically food and drink service is carried out in more constrained spaces and the influence of adverse weather conditions is a particular consideration - both in terms of undertaking specific duties, as well as ensuring passenger comfort. All members of crew on board vessels are also required to undertake specific secondary duties, whether that be fire-fighting, first aid or rescue boat tasking.

The new qualification will equip the students with tailor-made experience in these various areas making them more employment-ready for this specialised area. Each apprentice will spend time at sea, as well as in a classroom environment - the result is that they will finish the year-long course with qualifications in hospitality (SCQF Level 5), maritime studies (SQA Level 2) and elementary food hygiene (Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland Level 2), as well as invaluable hands-on practical experience and application.

With a rise in the popularity of cruise ships, large or small, pleasure boating charter fleets, as well as ferries around the UK's coast and other waterborne opportunities, the new programme provides a particular and valuable niche to a growing industry.

Caledonian MacBrayne's Retail Development Manager, Donald MacKillop, said: "CalMac already has established engineering and deck modern apprenticeships, and this is a welcome and valuable addition to our available training opportunities for young people.

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