JOBS: London’s port authority sets up Thames Skills Academy to launch ‘careers on the river’

Thames Skills Academy chairman Richard Everitt

Thames Skills Academy chairman Richard Everitt - Credit: PLA+Archant

A training academy has been set up to open up new careers for those wanting to work on the Thames.

Thames Skills Academy chairman Richard Everitt

Thames Skills Academy chairman Richard Everitt - Credit: PLA+Archant

The new Thames Skills Academy established by the Port of London Authority is running courses and marine apprenticeships for employers, backed by the Watermen & Lightermen’s livery company, Transport for London and the Tideway Tunnel contractors.

“Well-trained people are vital to making the most of new opportunities on the river,” academy chairman Richard Everitt said at last night’s inauguration at Fishmongers’ Hall.

“A busier river offers new jobs with complex navigation, which makes safety training a priority for those taking up courses.”

Creating the academy has come from a growing gap in marine skills as major projects get under way like London’s 17-mile Tideway ‘super sewer’ being constructed below the riverbed from Barnes to the Isle of Dogs, aimed at cleaning up the river.

Thames Skills Academy chairman Richard Everitt

Thames Skills Academy chairman Richard Everitt - Credit: PLA+Archant


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Skill workers are needed by Tideway for the biggest Thames engineering project of the century, due to be completed by 2024.

Tideway’s chief executive Andy Mitchell said: “We can develop a highly skilled workforce on the Thames by working with employers on river training, making sure the competence and professionalism of river workers is recognised through accredited training programmes that meet employers’ needs.”

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The academy is to train the next generation of boatmasters and help crew and service staff get the extra skills that Thames businesses need and to create a career path for youngsters starting out on the river.

One major company involved is Livett’s, which operates a fleet of passenger boats and barges.

Its chief executive Chris Livett said: “You need a Boatmaster’s Licence to navigate on the Thames, whether passenger or freight, as well as local river knowledge. The academy will provide operators like me with a ‘one stop shop’ for our training needs.”

The Port authority forecasts passenger trips doubling to 20 million over the next 20 years, while freight will rise to the 2014 peak of five million tonnes.

The PLA’s chief harbour master Bob Baker said: “The Thames is a ‘marine superhighway’ which can unlock the congestion on the roads and help lower emissions. We can realise that potential with well-trained workers that the new academy will help create.”

The Thames Skills Academy has been set up following consultations by the port authority in February with companies operating on the river.

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