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Dropping anchor at Port Academy Liverpool

By Mersey Maritime

A collaboration between Cammell Laird, the Royal Navy and Port Academy Liverpool saw a seven and a half tonne anchor transported from the Birkenhead based shipyard to its new home at Hugh Baird College.

The anchor has been donated to Port Academy Liverpool by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. The ‘Bower’ type anchor belonged to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel RFA Fort Victoria which recently undertook a £47 million refit at Cammell Laird. Representatives from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) supported Hugh Baird College’s uniformed services staff and students in taking charge of the logistics of moving the anchor, with the help of haulage specialists, J Wood & Sons. The operation gave the students preparing to join the army a chance to see the REME in action, giving them a taste of the type of work they might be involved in when they enlist.

After making the journey through the Mersey Tunnel by lorry, the anchor was carefully unloaded at the College’s Pembroke Centre building, soon to be transformed into Port Academy Liverpool headquarters thanks to funding from Liverpool Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Royal Navy’s Regional Commander for Northern England and the Isle of Man, Commodore Gary Doyle, said: “The Royal Navy has a long and close relationship with the North of England and Bootle in particular has a strong maritime history. Part of my role as the Naval Regional Commander is to develop the understanding of the Royal Navy within the region so I’m delighted to see Hugh Baird College’s Port Academy Liverpool working so closely with the maritime sector to educate young people about the amazing and diverse careers they could have with us and indeed the Merchant Navy. What better way to seal the partnership than to have a piece of naval history at the heart of their new building.”

Once the anchor is moved, Hugh Baird College’s Painting and Decorating students will get to work on restoring it over the Winter months, ready to take pride of place at the front of Port Academy Liverpool in the Spring. The students have already visited Cammell Laird where Engineer and Project Director, Spencer Atkinson, gave them advice on what they will need to do when conserving and treating the anchor.

Painting and Decorating tutor, Jim Smith said: “This is a great project for our students to be involved in. Visiting the shipyard and hearing about the specialist techniques that go into maintaining this type of piece, really widened their horizons about their future career. It opened their eyes to the idea that the trade they are learning on their course doesn’t limit them to domestic painting and decorating but gives them skills that could transfer across many industries.”

Port Academy Liverpool will have its official opening next year when the anchor will be formally dedicated to seafarers past and present. Launched in 2014 as a specialist academy, Port Academy Liverpool provides a one-stop-shop for port operations, maritime logistics and engineering related courses. The training provider was awarded funding to upgrade the engineering and construction facilities at their Pembroke Centre as part of the Liverpool City Region’s £232million Growth Deal. Secured by the Local Enterprise Partnership, the investment aims to help further education colleges and skills training providers to meet employer demands for skills by improving the quality of the learning experience and ultimately enhancing job prospects of learners across Liverpool City Region.

If you would like to find out more about Port Academy Liverpool or are an organisation interested in exploring collaboration opportunities in the maritime sector, visit or telephone 0151 353 4444.

Photos can be viewed on the Hugh Baird Facebook page

About Hugh Baird College and Port Academy Liverpool:

Hugh Baird College is a Further Education College situated in South Sefton, Merseyside. It is one of the largest providers of education and training in the area.  The College provides a very broad based Further Education curriculum together with an expanding Higher Education provision and full time 14-16.

Port Academy Liverpool was founded by Hugh Baird College and offers a one-stop-shop for all maritime, engineering and STEM training needs, educating students of all ages. It is located at Hugh Baird College in the heartland of the historic docklands area of Bootle. The Port of Liverpool and Liverpool 2 deep water terminal are just a stone’s throw away.

Port Academy Liverpool has been created to respond to the opportunities surrounding maritime operations and port-related logistics by meeting the training needs of the region as it sets to grow and compete on a global scale.

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Dropping anchor at Port Academy Liverpool