Apprentices get their 'half way' ticket for their Thames 'boatmaster' licenses
PUBLISHED: 16:13 23 March 2016 | UPDATED: 16:13 23 March 2016
Â© Todd White Art Photography 2016
Transport Minister Lord Ahmad has presented Maritime Skills diplomas to a "flotilla" of 11 Thames apprentices aged 18 to 25 at a 'half way' graduation held at Butler's Wharf near Tower Bridge.
The diplomas are for gaining two years’ training experience so far, with passenger and freight operators, alongside their day release study.
The apprentices complete their Thames Training Alliance courses when they take their exams for the Maritime & Coastguard Agency Boatmaster licence.
“Opportunities lie ahead for apprentices such as these as river and maritime use is set to grow over the next 20 years,” Lord Ahmad said.
“An apprenticeship can take you anywhere and these young people are on course for a great career on the Thames.
“A highly skilled workforce is vital to ensure the economic potential of the Thames is being maximised and for the UK to remain the world’s premier maritime centre.”
The Thames Vision project led by the Port of London Authority has identified prospects for all aspects of river activity to expand, from the port to passenger trips, sports and recreation to inland waterways freight.
PLA chief executive Robin Mortimer said: “These apprentices are the future skippers of boats on the Thames that carry 10 million tourists and commuters every year and the barges that keep over 100,000 lorries off London’s roads.
“The project sets out a future for the Thames with more cargo in the port, more passenger trips and more freight by water.”
The Thames Tideway Tunnel soon starting construction under the riverbed from Barns to the Isle of Dogs is one of the major schemes set to increase river traffic over the next decade.
The £4 billion scheme to modernise London’s sewerage network to cope with demands into the 22nd century involves four million tonnes of materials to be moved on the river during construction.