Apprenticeships provide training and development for people aged 16+, (there is no upper age limit) who wish to enter the workboat industry.

Apprenticeships are based on achievement and time being served. Therefore at the commencement of an Apprenticeship an Individual Training Plan is agreed with each Apprentice and the employer. This plan will specify a duration that will allow the Apprentice a reasonable prospect of successful completion of the programme. The training plan will be reviewed at regular intervals and the duration of the Apprenticeship may change as a result of these reviews.

The Apprenticeship is aimed at those newly entering the workboat industry and aspiring to reach the first milestone on a workboat vessel, i.e. to become a useful deckhand. As a deckhand, the job requires a range of individual and team responsibilities.

A typical job role may include being:

  • a member of one of the bridge watch teams – steering, lookout, contributing to safe navigation
  • a member of the deck team – operating and maintaining deck gear, operating deck machinery
  • assisting with all aspects of vessel maintenance

The Apprenticeship will lead to:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Maritime Studies (Workboat pathway)
  • Functional Skills Level 2 for Maths and English unless already holding GCSE Grade C/4 or above.
  • STCW95 Certificates in Elementary First Aid, Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting, Personal Survival
  • Techniques, and Personal Safety & Social Responsibility
  • Short Range VHF Radio Operators Certificate (optional)
  • Where possible, several other extra-curricular courses such as Vessel Stability, Diesel Engine Maintenance. etc.

The apprentice will be paid by their employer under the terms of their Contract of Employment.

Subsistence and/or travelling allowances may also be payable.



The apprentice will undertake various lessons around knowledge based and competence based units:

Mandatory units:

  • Survival in the water during maritime emergencies (STCW PST)
  • Emergency first aid in response to maritime accidents or medical emergencies (STCW)
  • Maritime fire prevention and fire actions (STCW)
  • Communicate using equipment and visual means
  • Maritime sector overview
  • Maritime employment, environmental health and safety practice
  • Vessel ropework and anchoring and mooring operations
  • Securing a vessel for passage
  • Basic Navigational Watchkeeping
  • Contribute to workboat operations
  • Control operation of survival craft & rescue boats
  • Functional Skills; maths, English & ICT

Functional Skills will be introduced at an early stage and will be expected to be completed by the end of the main classroom period in order that sea duty is not interrupted.



Assessment will take place regularly during the classroom training, and results held on file. At the end of classroom training, the majority of units will be assessed by multiple choice examination papers.

When completing the sea duty training, apprentices are required to complete sections of the Workboat Association Training Record Book, and when progressing and have become competent, this will be signed off by the skipper or first mate.

Final assessment will take the form of inspection of all of the evidence achieved by the apprentice, and will require submission of Functional Skills Maths and English, Training Record Book completed in full, and examination papers. Once the submission has been verified, the apprentice will have achieved the full qualification.



The successful apprentice will receive a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Maritime Studies – Workboat Crewmember Certificate. This is separate from and in addition to those certificates awarded for the achievement of the individual components, e.g. unit’s exams, Training Record Book and functional skills.

Then, the newly qualified workboat deck hand can expect to return to their employer.



Information, advice and guidance (IAG) regarding progression opportunities can be given upon application enquiry to the employer.

At second interview, induction at the training centre and throughout the training period, you will receive regular IAG.

All the qualifications have a direct link into Maritime and Coastguard Agency statutory certification system.

For the qualified Level 3 Apprentice progression opportunities lead to:

  • Full time employment as a deck hand
  • Further training within your company
  • MCA Class 2 Deck Officer certificate
  • MCA Class 1 Deck Officer certificate
  • Application to Merchant Navy as deck hand
  • Application to Royal Navy as deck hand
  • Maritime & Coastguard Agency
  • R.N.L.I.
  • Offshore Renewables industry



You should look out in local newspapers, industry magazines and company websites for apprenticeship vacancies.

You should apply to the workboat company for an apprenticeship place. If you are successful in gaining an interview, you can expect that there may be a second interview at our training centre to ensure that you are a suitable candidate.



If your application is successful you will be invited to interview by the workboat employer.

If you are shortlisted, you may expect to attend a second interview here at the training centre to ensure your suitability. Some applicants live a long way from Whitby and travel to the town the day before. If you need to do this we can give advice regarding places to stay and the best route to travel.

When you arrive at the School for a second interview, you will complete a Literacy and a Numeracy assessment. Obviously you will need to do as well as you can. We will be looking for literacy and numeracy skills at Level 1 (basic skills), but will consider applicants on a one-to-one basis.

Once you have completed your assessments you will be interviewed, usually by the Training Co-ordinator and/or another member of staff.

We will have an informal chat - you can tell us about your background, previous work experience, what things you are good at, etc. We can tell you about how the training centre runs and what we expect of you.

We will ask questions - you can ask questions too.

Once all the interviews have been completed we will contact your prospective employer within about 7 days to let them know our opinions.

If you are successful - well done! We will send you and your employer joining instructions and start date.




This new qualification allows Employers to take on new starters as Apprentices, and develop their skills to become a valuable crew member for your company. The Apprentice will complete various courses, gaining maritime qualifications and completing all certificates as shown above.  


Workboat companies are required to liaise with 54 North Maritime Training (54NMT) of their intention to employ a Workboat Apprentice/s.

The intake/enrolment date will be advised to the Employer together with requirements of 54NMT.

The Employer to advertise the Apprenticeship vacancy, interview and then either:-

decide and choose the required applicant/s *or* refer a shortlist of applicants to 54NMT for 2nd interview to ensure suitability. 54NMT to advise employer of preference.

Before the start of training with 54NMT, the Employer will take on the Apprentice/s, issue a contract of employment, complete the usual company induction.  The Apprentice will undertake off the job, classroom based training at Whitby, North Yorkshire. STCW95 basic safety courses will be achieved. 54NMT will arrange accommodation.