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The Future's Ship Shape

As the Mosslands School creates greater ties with Mersey Maritime Group, the Daily Mirror interviews former student Sam Musgrave to find out what job opportunities are available in this growing sector

Former Mosslands boy Sam Musgrave has been interviewed by the Mirror newspaper regarding his success in the maritime industry. At a time when further education and jobs are becoming harder to get, Sam talks about how this growing sector has supported him through his apprenticeship and helped him gain good qualifications.  

Over the past year The Mosslands School has signed a partnership agreement with Mersey Maritime Group which provides all of our students with the opportunity to increase their understanding and skills in this world class industry

Sam Musgrave

Article from the Mirror

As part of our Get Britain Working campaign we’ve found 4,322 jobs up for grabs right now in the marine and ­shipping industry.

Whether it’s building aircraft carriers, luxury yachts, or working in the busy ports and shipyards there are opportunities at all levels from apprentices to experienced engineers and from crane drivers to general labour.

New figures show that shipping, ports and maritime services support more than half a million British jobs and contribute a hefty £26.5billion to the British economy.

“This confirms just how crucial the maritime services sector is to UK plc,” says Maritime UK chairman Jim Stewart ( “As an island nation, 95% of our international trade is moved by sea, and while no sector has been immune to the economic downturn, we have ridden the storm and continued to deliver for Britain.”

The future is also looking bright with massive investment going ahead to transform ­Merseyside ( with the Port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal rapidly expanding. This, say experts, promises 33,600 new jobs in the next few years.


Employment in shipbuilding and ship repair is mostly concentrated in a small number of companies such as BAE Systems (, which takes on about 70 apprentices a year at Portsmouth and Clyde; Cammell Laird (; Babcock Engineering Services (, which has 53 vacancies at the moment; and Swan Hunter (  

At we found 1,024 jobs ranging from an export clerk in Preston (from £18,000) to a freight co-ordinator in Milton Keynes (from £19,000).

Jobcentre Plus has 3,245 related jobs, ranging from a bench joiner carpenter in Plymouth (from £11.32/hour) to a marine engineer based in Merseyside (from £17,532). Check out the British Marine Federation ( where we found a marine electrician in Dorset (negotiable) and a boat builder/repair technician in Argyll (also negotiable).


The Maritime and Engineering College North West is a good place to start ( As well as full apprenticeships it has simulator-based training programmes for operating dockside equipment. To find out more about apprenticeships, check out or call 08000 150 600.

Or take an engineering college course, which would teach you some of the skills needed, such as the BTEC Certificate and Diploma in Mechanical, Electrical or ­Electronic Engineering.

You could also work towards a higher-level ­qualification, such as a BTEC HNC and HND in Marine Engineering. And there are training opportunities with the merchant navy (


Marine ­technicians’ starting salaries are from £12,000, rising to £25,000. Seniors can earn £30,000-plus.

Worker's view

HARD at work building a multi-million pound aircraft carrier is Sam Musgrave.

He is one of the latest apprentices to graduate from shipbuilding giant Cammell Laird’s three-year programme to become a qualified fabricator at the Mersey yard.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do,” says Sam, 20, who grew up in the shadow of the Liverpool dockyards in Wallasey.

“The fact that my dad runs a small ship repair yard on Anglesey made it all the more obvious for me to do this as a career.”

His dream became possible when he got the chance to do a pre-apprenticeship in engineering at school as part of his GCSEs.

“I spent one day a week at the Maritime and Engineering College North West, which is right by the shipyards. I got to do some theory and hands-on work and gained an NVQ. When it came time to finish school, there was a vacancy on the full-time ­apprenticeship course. Because they knew me at the college they felt I’d be good at it. I had no doubts and just went for it.”

A year later when Cammell Laird – which has a £44million three-year contract to build the flight decks for the new Queen Elizabeth II aircraft carrier – needed to take on an apprentice, it chose Sam because he had shone during the interview.

“The course gave me the confidence I needed,” he says.

Now he’s fully qualified, Sam is even more chuffed with his apprenticeship decisions.

“Unlike my mates who went to university, I have no debts and, being paid as I’ve gone along, I have a car – and two motorbikes!”

To top it all, he says he has fantastic qualifications up to level 3 NVQ and a ­full-time permanent job at a growing dynamic business. Now he’s been told that his bosses are prepared to pay for him to go to uni to continue his studies to degree level.

“To be a part of building something so vast and important is a dream come true.”