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Thames Skills Academy Newsletter November 2020

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Over the last few months, we have seen the maritime sector being devastated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  At the Thames Skills Academy, we are seeing the impact that this is having on apprentices, trainees, staff and employers and we are doing our best to support the industry until life is able to return to normal.

With this in mind, we have focused our second newsletter of 2020 around the measures that we, in conjunction with others in the sector, are taking to help those most affected.

These include free TSA membership for 2020/21 for all Thames employers; a webinar to support those people who are struggling at the moment; and an offer of a grant from the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights for small and medium sized maritime businesses to encourage them to put people on the TSA’s flagship Boatmaster and Engineering Apprenticeships. 

And looking ahead, we invite your views on the content of the Continuous Professional Development programme for the Thames. Please fill out the short questionnaire below by Friday, 13th November. 

Supporting mental health needs - book our free webinar 

A free webinar is being provided by the Thames Skills Academy for all apprentices and people training on the Thames. It is being delivered by Mental Health Awareness UK. 

Mental Health Awareness UK is the UK’s specialist mental health e-learning provider which offers courses and qualifications regulated by Ofqual (Department of Education England). You can read more about the first webinar, which is being held between 2.30pm and 3.30pm on Tuesday, November 17th here

If you want to find out more about this webinar and book your place, please contact Jean Stevens at or by calling 01322 917 553.



Continuous Professional Development on the tidal Thames

The TSA, the Port of London Authority and the Company of Watermen & Lightermen are encouraging everyone who works on the Thames, particularly Masters, to fill in a questionnaire about what you’d like to see included in the Continuous Professional Development programme for the tidal Thames.

You can fill in the questionnaire  here.


Free TSA membership on offer 

The Thames Skills Academy is delighted to announce that it is now in a position to offer free membership to all Thames employers. To find out more about the free membership which is open until the end of March 2021, please read the full story here.

If you want to find out more about this please contact Katherine Riggs at or 01322 917 552.

New Refresher Riverside Personal Safety

The Thames Skills Academy is launching a brand new Riverside Personal Safety Refresher course.

This is open to any of the 1,100-plus people who have already completed the day-long Riverside Personal Safety Course which equips everyone working on or near the tidal Thames to do so safely - whether they be in the maritime or construction industry.

This online Refresher has been designed by the TSA after receiving excellent industry feedback about the need for this course. You can find more details here and by contacting or by calling 01322 917 553.


The Shipwrights Company provides valuable support to employers for Apprenticeships

A new boost to help small and medium sized businesses recruit apprentices for the TSA's Boatmaster Apprenticeship has been announced by the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. 

Grants are being offered to small and medium sized businesses looking to put someone on one of the TSA's two flagship Apprenticeships: the Boatmaster and Maritime Engineering.

If you are interested in applying, the details are here.

Employers being urged to consider apprentices

South Essex College is offering visits to your premises and to their site for any maritime employers who might be interested in taking on an apprentice.

If you are an employer who needs an engineer to maintain your vessel then South Essex College – and Thames employers with apprentices already on the course - would be delighted to talk to you about the benefits this apprenticeship brings to businesses on the Thames.   

This is a four-year apprenticeship which has been developed with and for employers on the Thames.  You can read more about the apprenticeship on our website.

If you want to find out more about the Maritime Engineering Apprenticeship, please contact Simon Lofting at or by calling 0345 5212345.

Tributes to our apprentice Artem 

The TSA is launching an award to commemorate one of our apprentices, Artem Bondarenko. Twenty-three-year-old Artem was a Master at City Cruises and one of our first Boatmaster Apprentices. Artem was one of 10 to start the TSA Boatmaster Apprenticeships and one of the first to gain his Boatmaster Licence.

You can read tributes from the TSA and City Cruises here.

New TSA Board Member

The TSA is delighted to welcome Fran Comerford-Cole to its Board as an Employer Representative.  Fran is Director of Logistics for Cory Riverside Energy and has a wealth of other relevant experience which brought her from New Zealand to the UK.

There are more details on our website.

Stronger together

The Thames Skills Academy is a member of the Maritime Skills Alliance.  It’s a national association of 18 organisations across the wider maritime sector – covering inland waterways, at sea, commercial, leisure, young and old - which work together to promote training, skills and apprenticeships. 

During the Covid-19 emergency the MSA has been working hard to keep the maritime industry informed about all the help available, both from central Government and from others, for employers and training providers, particularly to make sure that specialist training providers whose business model assumed that trainees would come through the door, know of the help available to keep them afloat.

Here the Alliance's Secretary, Iain Mackinnon, tells us more about the benefits of working with the TSA.

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