Following a competitive application process, P&O Ferries has welcomed five new recruits to its Maritime Caterer Apprenticeship scheme, a two-year development programme for future ratings within the Onboard Services Department.

The trainees, aged between 20 and 26, joined their allocated ship last week after undergoing a three-week induction at North Kent College. The initial tutoring included STCW ship safety training, a mandatory certificate all individuals must obtain before commencing employment on-board a ship.

For the duration of the course, the group will split their time between the classroom and their designated ship. On-board, the apprentices will progress through the Merchant Navy Training Board’s Training Record Book, which logs all practical skills they have undertaken on the job. Core skills they will learn include food preparation, costing and budgeting, menu planning for both customers and crew as well as stocktaking.

The group will come back together for one day a week in the classroom, alternating between North Kent College and Channel House – P&O Ferries’ Dover HQ. At the college, the students will work towards a Level 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery, while at Channel House, the group will undertake further specialist training with additional tutoring in maths and English.

The following apprentices have each been allocated to a ship operating on P&O Ferries’ Short Sea Routes between Dover and Calais; Sean Evans (Pride of Kent), Lewis Green (Pride of Canterbury), Jake Squires (Spirit of Britain), Louis Beales (Pride of Burgundy) and Pete Smith (Spirit of Britain).

Commenting on the programme, trainee Pete Smith, aged 26, said, “When I applied to the apprenticeship scheme, I was out of work and receiving benefits. I saw it as a brilliant opportunity to challenge myself. It’s been great to get stuck in on my first-week on-board the Spirit of Britain, and I’m excited to advance my skills as I go along.”

Fellow apprentice, Sean Evans, aged 21, added, “I was already employed by P&O Ferries as a Steward and Kitchen Porter, however when I saw the opportunity to join the Maritime Caterer Apprenticeship scheme, I jumped at it. I’m confident that the course will put me in great stead to achieve my ambition to become a chef.”

Mike Willis, Learning and Development Advisor at P&O Ferries, said, “It’s been a delight to watch our new intake of apprentices throw themselves into the course, firstly at North Kent College and now on the ships. The course is tailored to set apprentices up for a successful career in the catering sector, and through a structured training programme and regular touchpoints with Learning and Development Advisors, we hope to put our students in the very best position possible.”

For more information about career opportunities with P&O Ferries, visit www.poferries.com.