As IMarEST says, the last years, employers find it difficult to recruit and retain competent seafarers and other surveyor candidates. This makes them look overseas to import talent.

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To mitigate the problem, an alliance of industry partners cooperated to form the Trailblazer Group, aiming to create an apprenticeship programme. The apprenticeship takes candidates with relevant A-level qualifications or equivalent and provides them both academic studies and specialist practical training to produce competent and self-reliant surveyors at the end of the four-year programme.

The DfE granted the apprenticeship the highest band of financial support to employers, allowing them to spend up to £24,000 towards the education and training expenses per candidate over the four year programme.

During their work, surveyors inspect various ship and vessel types, each with different purposes and requirements, in order to verify that safety rules and regulations are followed and the ship is fit for purpose.

While each vessel will have different focus areas depending on its function and intended mission profile, surveyors need to possess and share common knowledge areas, skills and behaviours required for each of their duties.

Providing a comment on the apprenticeship, Alan Cartwright, who heads the IMarEST’s Small Ships Special Interest Group, highlighted that:

What this apprenticeship provides is a funded means for the UK's maritime administration (MCA), classification societies, insurers, and others the opportunity to recruit, educate and train their surveyors through an industry-specific degree-level apprenticeship. Because the course can be subsidised by the UK’s apprenticeship levy, it will also assist charitable organisations like the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI)