City College Plymouth leads the way in addressing future skills needs for the maritime sector

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City College Plymouth’s commitment to skills for industry gained an important seal of approval on Thursday 9 March at a highly esteemed awards event.

The College scooped the coveted Future Skills category at the Maritime UK Awards and was named the winner of this top prize at a ceremony in Hull, surpassing all the other finalists.

The College won this category after setting out the extensive work to engage with local employers to develop a highly relevant and adaptable curriculum that has been designed to meet the skills-needs of the maritime and engineering sectors.

Recognising the significance of the maritime industry for the city and wider region, Jackie Grubb, City College’s Chief Executive, collaborated closely with staff and stakeholders to integrate the maritime sector into the College’s ambitious Strategic Intent. This comprehensive strategy includes substantial investments in facilities and courses that are essential for enhancing the skills of the maritime workforce.

Leading the implementation of the strategic action for the maritime, manufacturing, construction and built environment sectors is Lance Chatfield, the Executive of Technical Innovation at the College. Lance expressed his delight in the College’s recognition for its efforts to engage with employers.

Lance said: “Students and employers are central to everything we do at the College and we make every decision with careful consideration of the benefits for both of these groups.

“We are continually finding new ways to connect with our vital employers, whether it’s through one-to-one discussions with individual employers or large celebratory events like the College’s highly successful Maritime UK Week dinner, which brought together a huge range of industry stakeholders and included presentations by Brigadier Mike Tanner, OBE, commander of Devonport Naval Base.”

Since the dinner, which was held in November, the College has been leading on a new partnership for maritime and defence, with employers such as Babcock and Princess Yachts, and also includes representatives from the University of Plymouth and other key stakeholders.

The emphasis on skills development for the maritime industry has resulted in the establishment of a new teaching facility situated in close proximity to the waterfront and among some of the leading maritime employers. Additionally, new university-level courses have been introduced, aimed at equipping the present and future workforce with vital skills.

Ethan Templeton, a student at City College who is studying naval architecture as part of a degree-level Apprenticeship with Babcock, said: “’Winning the Maritime UK award for future skills is a source of great pride. This award underscores the College’s dedication to providing students with the necessary skills to succeed in the maritime industry.

“I’m proud to be part of an organisation that prioritises the future skills of its students and this award reinforces my confidence in the quality of education I am receiving and the opportunities that will be available to me in the future. It is gratifying to know that the skills I am acquiring at City College will make me an asset to the industry and enable me to achieve my career goals.”

The awards bring together marine employers, training providers and other stakeholders from across the UK, all of whom are committed to driving growth for this area and to celebrate a thriving sector that is worth £116bn to the UK economy.

College Chief Executive, Jackie Grubb, said: “Winning this award is an accolade to all our students, staff and stakeholders. Ethan is a shining example of many of our students. His success is a true reflection of the hard work and dedication of the City’s anchor institution for skills and the learning destination of choice.”

Ben Murray, Maritime UK Chief Executive, said: “Congratulations to all the outstanding winners, as well as the nominees who were shortlisted by our judges. These organisations play a pivotal role in ensuring that the UK remains a leading force in the global maritime economy, both in terms of competitiveness and sustainability.

“It was a pleasure to witness the energy and passion at the awards ceremony, and I’m grateful to all our members, judges and sponsors for making it a resounding success. Our sector is experiencing a renaissance and there is real momentum across the sector. I’m confident that with continued collaboration and dedication, we can build on our recent achievements and create an even brighter future for the sector.”

City College is asking local employers of all types to complete a quick survey called The Big Skills Discovery Live that asks about current and future skills needs. The online survey takes only a few minutes to complete and can be found at