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How North P&I is investing in 21st century maritime skills

Newcastle-headquartered global marine insurer North P&I Club is adding to its legacy with support for the next generation of industry workers.

Newcastle-based North P&I Club may trace its origins back to 1860, but the global shipping and marine insurer is very much focused on the 21st century, particularly when it comes to investing in skills.

In addition to its in-house apprenticeship and staff training programmes, North also plays its part in backing skills acquisition and development in the wider marine sector.

For example, for the next three years, the insurer is sponsoring engineering cadet Tom Eyles as he progresses in his studies at South Shields Marine School, part of South Tyneside College.

Tom will be learning a wide range of marine engineering skills at the school, as well as taking on board some work experience with North. The 21-year-old eventually aims to become a chief engineer in the maritime sector.

North P&I Club got involved with supporting Tom’s career via the Maritime London Officer Cadet Scholarship Scheme (MLOCS). This sees maritime sector students in the country awarded a scholarship via a scheme run by Maritime London, the industry-led body representing maritime professional services in the UK and financed by companies and organisations within the sector. MLOCS scholarships enable cadets to study a three year Maritime Navy Training Board-approved cadet training programme at leading nautical training colleges across the UK, and at sea, to qualify as deck, engine or electro-technical officers.

The MLOCS selection process seeks the best possible candidates and carefully considers backgrounds to encourage those who aspire to a career at sea but might be unable to fund the required training without MLOCS’ support.

North P&I is funding Tom throughout his three-year course, as well as giving him valuable work experience and insights into the shipping and marine insurance industry.

Colin Gillespie, head of the loss prevention team at North P&I, will mentor Tom during his visits to the insurer. Colin says: “As well as investing in our own employees and the local community, it’s also important for us to invest in the marine sector as a whole.

“We opted for an engineering cadet as the challenges the industry faces to decarbonise over the next generation requires well educated, talented and committed marine engineering professionals.

“This approach aligns with North’s sustainability action plan. “That’s why we’re delighted to be supporting Tom in his studies. “He’s already shown first-class aptitude to be chosen as one of the recipients of the scholarship, and we’ve been impressed by his willingness to learn here at North P&I.”

Tony Vlasto, chairman of trustees at MLOCS, says: “We are very pleased and grateful to North for agreeing to sponsor Tom during his training. “He joins a cohort of more than 200 cadets we have supported since our officer cadet scholarship scheme started 30 years ago. “Our enthusiasm and drive to provide the competent seafarers for tomorrow, in a world where the crucial importance of shipping is ever more and rightly recognised, remains undiminished.”

Tom adds: “North P&I have, through their generosity, granted me access to the marine engineering world, which would have been difficult to enter without their support, and for that I am very thankful. “I have begun my studies and already I am sure I have made an excellent decision to pursue this career; everything I am learning on the course and about the industry only affirms this.

“I couldn’t have done this without North P&I, so it is my aim to appreciate this opportunity and to succeed.” The scholarship is one of several initiatives North P&I takes part in to help foster skills in the maritime sector. The insurer also funds marine apprenticeships via its work with the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights.

The latest beneficiary of this scheme has been Jamie Lorimer, from Alnwick Moor, who is in the final year of his apprenticeship at Blyth-based subsea specialist Pharos Offshore, with tuition from Northumberland College.

The former student of Alnwick’s Duchess’s Community High School has been given a thorough grounding in the various skills required at Pharos Offshore, including a range of different mechanical, hydraulic and electrical based skills necessary for a multi-tasking engineer fitter.

Talking about his apprenticeship, Jamie says: “I have learnt a lot in my two years of being here and have worked on a wide range of equipment gaining many different skills. “It has been a very good opportunity for what is available in the local area, and I am excited to progress my career with Pharos.”

Chris Hall, technical manager at Pharos Offshore, says: “We’re very grateful to North P&I Club and the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights for their backing and for the chance to help invest in our skills base and develop such a talented young man.” Dawn Robinson, global director of people at North P&I, adds: “We’re delighted to hear how well Jamie’s apprenticeship is going and the contribution he is making at Pharos Offshore. “While we run our own apprenticeship programme at North, we are also mindful of the importance of helping to invest in the marine sector as a whole, particularly so in our native North East.”



North P&I Club is a leading global marine insurer with more than 160 years of history in the industry. Founded and headquartered in Newcastle, North’s influence stretches around the world, with offices in Australasia, Greece, China (Shanghai and Hong Kong), Japan, Singapore, Ireland and the USA complementing its regional hub.