National Apprenticeship Week 2022

Published: 07/02/2022

It’s National Apprenticeship Week (7th-13th February 2022) and we’re joining the week-long celebration of apprenticeships.

This is the 15th edition of the annual week which, this year, has a theme of ‘build the future’ reflecting how a wide-range of apprenticeship opportunities are equipping talented people with valuable skills and knowledge on the pathway to job opportunities.

The UK Ship Register (UKSR), part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), has a number of apprentices working towards successful careers in the maritime industry.

Embarking on a new job in maritime doesn’t mean you have to get your feet wet or have previous experience of working at sea. There’s plenty of rewarding opportunities in a huge variety of different roles which include client-focused services like vessel registration to official logbooks and wider support to ensure the UK flag remains one of the best-performing flags in the major Port State control regime.

Nidhi Sanil (pictured below), who is one of our apprentices working in the UKSR administrative team and approaching the end of her Level 3 Business Administration course, said that her apprenticeship has been a “really positive experience and worthwhile course to do”.

“I’ve had the opportunity to learn lots of new skills, such as planning and project management,” said Nidhi, who is working towards completing her final knowledge assessment – the final component of the apprenticeship.

“Learning these skills has benefitted me in my role as Administrative Support in the UKSR Team, with the course covering various aspects of Business Administration and everything from policy to organisation. I would definitely recommend the apprenticeship to others as it is an excellent introduction to business practices.”

Similarly, Sophie Brooks, who is a Governance Assistant as part of the MCA’s UK Maritime Services team, completed her Level 3 Business Administration apprenticeship in mid-2021.

By embarking on a career in the maritime sector, Sophie’s day-to-day role sees her support the work of the UKSR team to promote the MCA and the UK Flag worldwide to ship owners and operators.

“The apprenticeship provided a valuable grounding in Business Administration and was actively supported by my line manager Neil (Peacey), who won the Department for Transport (DfT) Apprentice Line Manager of the Year Award 2021. As a result I recognise how my role and work feed into the organisation’s services and activities, and the wider maritime sector. It has proven to be really helpful in launching my career in a sector I’m passionate about,” said Sophie, a keen sailor who joined the Agency following the successful completion of her studies at the University of Portsmouth.

“I’m enjoying working with colleagues in such a dynamic environment, contributing to achieving the Agency’s goals and objectives, and look forward to developing my career in maritime.”

Neil Peacey, Head of UKSR Business Management Unit as part of the UKSR team, line manages both Nidhi and Sophie and says that the UKSR team support apprentices so that they can manage their workload and time commitments.

“National Apprenticeship Week is a tremendous opportunity to shine the spotlight on our dedicated apprentices who have worked really hard not only to learn and acquire valuable new skills but gain confidence in the workplace which will ensure that they are able to contribute greatly to the future of the UKSR and MCA,” Neil said.

“I am really proud of the focus Nidhi and Sophie have demonstrated in pursuing their qualification, especially in light of the additional time pressures and challenges faced due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. It has been brilliant to see their progress at first hand and I look forward to seeing their careers flourish.”

In our Talent and Development team, Heather Hillier – who joined the MCA in July 2020 – plays a key role as a trainer, helping colleagues flourish and reach their potential in a number of job roles – including apprenticeship positions – across the Agency and UKSR.

With her position evolving into an Organisational Development Specialist, Heather has continued to engage closely with individuals and teams in supporting development and growth through an array of learning and training opportunities. In February 2022, she will be taking up the post of Behavioural Safety Lead supporting the MCA’s wide-ranging remit for safer lives, safer ships and cleaner seas.

Having previously enjoyed an exciting career in aviation – which included being an Airline Captain with Flybe and clocking up almost 8,000 flight hours in the sky over the best part of two decades – Heather made the successful switch to the maritime industry and has embraced using her expertise and considerable experience in a new field.

Heather said: “You are more than just a job title. Whatever your background and experience is, everyone has something to offer in a job and profession which truly matters. We’re really proud to provide excellent training and development opportunities so that we can help new colleagues and existing staff enjoy fulfilling and worthwhile careers in a number of different areas. Here at the MCA “Our people matter”!

Nidhi Sanil