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Bin it, for a Cleaner Thames

Transport minister Lord Ahmad marked the end of National Apprenticeship Week presenting 11 Thames apprentices with Maritime Skills Diplomas.

For the apprentices, aged 18 to 25, the diplomas are the result of two years’ hard work, gaining experience with passenger and freight operators along the river, as well as day release study with Skills Track at Tilbury. They will complete their training, which the Thames Training Alliance (TTA) ran, by passing Maritime & Coastguard Agency Boatmaster Licence exams.

Speaking at Butlers Wharf on the Thames, just downriver from Tower Bridge, Lord Ahmad said: “An apprenticeship can take you anywhere and these young people know where they’re going: they’re

on course for a great career on the Thames. As the transport minister with responsibility for skills, I’m hugely excited by the opportunities that lie ahead for apprentices such as these, as use of the river and maritime is set for remarkable growth over the next 20 years.

“A highly skilled workforce is vital if the UK is to remain the world’s premier maritime centre and I commend the work being done to ensure the economic potential of the Thames is being maximised.” The Thames Vision project, led by the Port of London Authority (PLA), has identified prospects for all aspects of Thames activity to grow – from the port size to passenger trips, sports and recreation to inland waterways freight.

The PLA provided financial support to the TTA of more than £60,000 and is working with its successor: Thames Skills Academy. PLA chief executive, Robin Mortimer explained:

“These apprentices are the future skippers of boats on the Thames, which carries more than 10 million tourists and commuters every year, and the barges that keep over 100,000 lorries off London’s roads.”

National Apprenticeship Week (NAW 2016) is coordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

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