Pictured, Gerry Diver – LJMU Superskills
Merseyside’s maritime sector is missing out on the benefits of apprenticeships when it comes to plugging their skills gap.
That is the view of Gerry Diver, employer engagement officer for the Maritime Superskills project, who claims companies are lagging behind other business sectors when it comes to developing high-end skills.
Mr Diver was one of four speakers addressing a packed audience at the monthly breakfast Face-2-Face networking session held for members of Mersey Maritime at the Maritime Knowledge Hub in Birkenhead.
Partly funded by the European Social Fund, the Superskills project is led by Mersey Maritime member, Liverpool John Moores University, and supported by Mersey Maritime, Port Academy Liverpool at Hugh Baird College, Wirral Met College, the Engineering College and the Northern Logistics Academy.
It enables employers in the maritime sector to “identify, map and develop” apprenticeship standards in maritime, logistics and advanced manufacturing,
Despite a recognised gap in high-end skills in the Liverpool city region, Mr Diver said not enough firms were exploring the benefits of apprenticeships. He explained: “We are playing catch-up with other sectors and we need to get on top of this.
“We need more employers in the maritime sector to get involved in this and become part of our Trailblazer groups. Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships are a win-win for both the employer and the person being trained.
Mr Diver added the project funding was due to run out in July but that they had applied to extend it by another year.
Also speaking at the Face-2-Face was Dr Joanne Phoenix, business development manager at Sensor City, a £15m collaboration between Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Liverpool.
Based in Liverpool city centre, Sensor City is a world-leading research centre for sensor technology. Dr Phoenix said: “We are an innovation centre but we are not just about space.
“We are creating a community working across a range of business sectors. We have everything under one roof to allow people to do rapid prototyping.
“SMEs are keen to access the corporate market and the corporates want to get access to new technologies that are being developed – and we are bringing them together.”
Accu-Right Engineering Ltd
Members at the event also heard about a great start-up success story. Unhappy in their jobs, engineers David Morley and Stuart Smith decided to take the plunge and set up Accu-Right Engineering in Liverpool four years ago.
Pictured, David Morely, Accu-Right Engineering Ltd
Starting with just three people the business has now expanded to employ 15 people and works with a whole array of clients, including blue chip companies such as Peel Ports.
Addressing the members, Mr Morley said the main focus of the business was on the maintenance of pumps, gear boxes and fans in industrial facilities, both in the UK and overseas.
“We are available to our customers 24 hours a days, 365 days a year,” he said. “Our clients are in industries such as food production and chemicals so, because they operate around the clock, we have to also.
“Often in a large factory companies don’t know exactly how many pumps, gear boxes and fans they may have – or their condition. As part of our service we visit the site and catalogue each one and track their repair history. This helps them to get the cost of maintenance down.
“We are growing and there is a bright future ahead for us.”
Kelvin Wright, from IT specialist Clear Cloud, also addressed the event. He spoke about the benefits for companies of moving their IT systems off local services an onto the Microsoft cloud.
He explained: “There is a real value in making the move onto the cloud. It saves SMEs from having to spend a lot of money on expensive hardware and allows their people to easily work from multiple locations.