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HETA apprentices in Hull reel in jobs at global fishing firm

6th August 2019

Five apprentices from HETA have become the first from the Hull training provider to launch a career at sea after securing work with an international fishing company.

Amy Conroy, Connor Rawson, Liam Markham, Joe Margarson and Tegan Finnerty all recently left the Humberside Engineering Training Association, and have now joined historic Dutch firm Cornelis Vrolijk.

It comes after a partnership was launched between HETA and Hull Trinity House Academy to encourage young people to pursue careers at sea.

Cornelis Vrolijk is a fifth-generation family business, which employs over 2,000 people and has been catching fish since 1880.

The apprentices recently had a tour of the trawler Frank Bonefaas, which they will be working on while at sea, and met its crew.

Joe Margarson, one of the apprentices, said: “The trip was very successful and gave us a very good understanding of the company and what we will be working on.

“All the Cornelius team were very welcoming and as excited as we were. The trip made me realise what a great opportunity I had. 

“The experience has really made me want to start straight away and see what it is like when we go out on a voyage. I cannot wait to meet the rest of the team.”

The apprentices first joined HETA last September.

After completing a year training at the provider, the group are now set to test out their sea legs working for one of the world’s biggest fishing companies.

Cornelis Vrolijk started in the port of Scheveningen, in the Netherlands, as a herring business in 1880 and expanded during the late 20th century into catching, farming and processing other types of fish and seafood and selling internationally.

The company approached HETA earlier this year after hearing about the marine engineering apprenticeship which has been developed by the training provider in partnership with Hull Trinity House Academy.

Charlotte Hogben, training and development advisor at HETA’s Hull centre, said: “On board the Frank Bonefaas they (the apprentices) were able to relate the equipment back to the skills learnt at HETA which included fluid power, fitting and maintenance.

“They also learnt about the level of safety required at sea and the steps Cornelis Vrolijk have put in place to look after them.

“They looked at the social side of life on board, the cabins and break areas and then learnt about the progression route within the organisation.”

Other apprentices are hopeful of securing places with trawler and tug operators in the UK, and more are being recruited by HETA and Hull Trinity House Academy to start their training in September.

The new initiative is also intended to support an industry-wide drive to address the shortfall in Merchant Navy officers, where there is an average age of 60 and a search for the future generations.