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The UK government has announced a £15m “funding boost” to train an extra 400 seafarer cadets annually.

The move doubles Whitehall funding for young people to £30m a year through its Support for Maritime Training (SMarT) programme,

As a result, the annual intake of cadets will rise from 750 to 1,200, and multinational shipping companies, including Carnival UK, BP, Shell, Maersk and Stena Line, have pledged to create an extra 450 training positions onboard ships.

Newly appointed Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani (pictured above) said: “We are building the maritime workforce of tomorrow and I want to encourage more young people to consider an exciting and rewarding career at sea.

“By doubling the funding for cadet training, we will help make sure that our engineers and captains of the future can access the right opportunities to reach their full potential.

“It will also strengthen the UK maritime sector’s position as a world leader and ensure people have the skills they need to help the industry flourish after we leave the EU.”

The move is part of UK government efforts to reenergise its maritime sector. UK Chamber of Shipping chief executive Guy Platten said the programme would benefit wider society too.

“The taxpayer sees a £5 return on every £1 it invests in seafarer training, so this funding will see the economy and the workforce, as well as the industry better off.

“Seafarers are highly skilled and well-paid and have the opportunity to build a successful long-term career. We know this funding will help us to unlock the talents of more young people, and it goes to show what can be achieved when government and industry work together.”

Training places are open to anyone across the UK interested in becoming a navigation officer, engineer or an electro-technical officer, and will be available at training colleges including Southampton Solent University’s Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering, City of Glasgow College, Lairside Maritime Centre in Liverpool and the South Shields Marine School.

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