UKSA announces Red Funnel partnership in Workboat Crew Member Apprenticeship Programme

Published on: 05 January 2023

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UKSA has announced it has partnered with Red Funnel in offering its Level 3 Workboat Crew Member Apprenticeship Programme as part of its maritime career pathways.

The two-year programme offered by the Isle of Wight based charity, which provides life-enhancing water-based adventures, education, and world-leading maritime training, is designed to give the apprentice all the skills, knowledge and behaviours to work on a wide variety of specialist vessels. These range from tugs and multi-purpose workboats to fast pilot boats and crew transfer vessels, taking personnel out to vessels or installations offshore.

UKSA has been working to forge partnerships with maritime employers to offer students government funded work placements with Red Funnel recently joining the programme.

Ben Willows, CEO of UKSA said: “UKSA is committed to providing training pathways that create exciting and long-term maritime careers opportunities. The Workboat Crew Member apprenticeship has always been popular and we’re delighted to have Red Funnel on board to offer our apprenticeships work placements at such a successful local business. Workboats are a fast-growing maritime industry and there are some fantastic future employment opportunities from offshore support vessels for major offshore wind farms, to dredging with a huge variety of roles on board.”

Stuart Tan, Head of Operations at Red Funnel, said: “At Red Funnel, we are committed to creating clear career pathways for seafarers and our values align perfectly with UKSA’s programme which is designed to give apprentices all the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to work on a wide variety of specialist workboat vessels. The UK is a leading maritime nation, and the Isle of Wight has an important and impactful maritime history that helps to inspire and encourage the next generation of innovators to join the industry. It’s an exciting time to get involved in the maritime sector, and we’re so pleased to be partnering with UKSA to deliver their highly regarded apprenticeship programme.”

Workboats operate in varying marine environments such as construction of offshore wind farms, providing a range of services within a port or inland waterways, including surveys and towage.

No previous experience is necessary, however every apprentice is required to pass the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)’s ENG 1 medical requirements.

Following completion of the programme, students have a wide range of potential career paths which include tug boats, offshore support, rescue and military ships, fishing vessels and lots of other types of ships such as exploration.

The course will provide students with the knowledge, skills and competence to carry out tasks such as using radios and IT, navigation and how to manoeuvre the boat, berthing, how to handle ropes and chains as well as cargo handling such as crane operations and securing cargo on board.

 Apprentices will undertake initial training at UKSA’s all-inclusive four-acre waterside academy in Cowes, before embarking on their apprenticeship journey which will include several training phases at UKSA.  

For more information and to apply, please visit

For any potential employers interested in partnering with UKSA like Red Funnel, please contact Julia Hutchison, Director of Marketing and Business Development on 01983 294941 

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