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Four Apprentices Start Careers with Port of London Authority


Four young people have taken the first steps towards a working life on the River Thames, after joining the Port of London Authority (PLA) at its main operational base in Gravesend, Kent.

Joining the PLA are: marine engineering apprentices, Ryan Ambrose and Jack Harrison; building tradesperson apprentice, Charlie Henry; and marine trainee, Kieran Dinnis.

The four-year apprenticeships are principally work-based, with ‘on the job’ training, supported by day-release at Mid Kent College or North West Kent College, leading to BTEC National or Higher National certificates. 

The marine trainee, Kieran Dinnis is the fifth the PLA has recruited since that scheme started in 2006. He will train through the Thames Training Alliance’s new apprentice programme, for the first two years through to achieving a Boat Masters’ Licence. Kieran will also gain experience working across various PLA operations, including the harbour patrol service and port control.

PLA apprentices 2013

The PLA promoted the training opportunities at a Thames Career Day it hosted on Gravesend’s Royal Terrace Pier in July. The event attracted over 1,000 people interested in careers on the river. The recruitment of the latest wave of apprentices represents an investment by the PLA of over £200,000. The PLA is receiving some financial support for the programme from the National Apprenticeship Service.

L to R: Kieran Dinnis, Ryan Ambrose, Charlie Henry, Jack Harrison

PLA chief executive, Richard Everitt, explained:

“We perform an essential role, enabling vessels from around the world to use the river in safety.  Skilled, expert professionals are at the heart of the essential services we provide.  We are investing in these new recruits to develop the skills required by the PLA and the wider river community in the future.”

So far in 2013, the PLA has hosted 21 pupils on work experience placements.

The Thames is home to the second biggest port in the UK, busiest inland waterway for freight, passengers and a centre for sporting events. The PLA oversees the safe movement of 230,000 commercial and leisure vessels on the Thames every year.  The commercial vessels provide trade links to over 80 countries around the world, from Chile to Mauritius, Honduras to Fiji.  In 2012, the PLA played a key role in organising the largest flotilla of vessels ever on the Thames.