Belfast Telegraph

All aboard: harbour teems with apprentices after inaugural maritime cup sails into Belfast

By Claire Williamson

Ship ahoy! Almost 200 young apprentices have sailed in to Belfast for a maritime challenge.

A team of 17 young apprentices from Peel Ports Group joined scores of others yesterday as they stopped off in the city during the inaugural Apprentice Ship Cup challenge.

The Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust (MAST), a maritime charity, brought four specially commissioned tall ships to the city as part of the challenge which encourages apprentices to work together.

The trainees set sail from the Port of Liverpool on June 16 and headed to Whitehaven.

They are due to return to Liverpool 10 days later – with yesterday's stop-off in Belfast along the way.

The apprentices spent a total of 24 hours in Belfast where they refuelled and trained for the next leg of their journey as well as making a visit to Titanic Belfast.

Peel Ports Group, which operates terminals in Belfast and Dublin, is co-sponsoring the challenge. It funded the cost for all 173 apprentices to visit the museum.

David Huck, the port director for Peel Ports Irish Sea, said: "Our apprentices are hugely important to us and we have an extensive apprenticeship programme in place across all our terminals.

"This experience will be something completely different for them, but they will learn a great deal about teamwork, which is an integral part of our approach.

"It is important to us that we help each and every one of them develop their career within the industry. We also encourage them to develop themselves as individuals, helping build their confidence and communication skills, which are just as important as the technical skills."

Peel Ports operates a successful apprenticeship programme which employs over 40 apprentices developing their skills in a range of mechanical and electrical engineering projects.

Jim Graves, MAST chair said: "Peel Ports has offered extensive support to our work as a charity over the past few years and we value their support."

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