It’s been over six months since I took part in the MAST Apprentice Ship Cup, but the lessons I learned during my time at sea manning a tall ship have definitely stayed with me in my career as an apprentice with Peel Ports.
The Apprentice Ship Cup is a two week-long sailing event, which challenges young apprentices like me to race a tall ship from Liverpool to Whitehaven via Belfast and then back again, putting our teamwork and communication skills to the test in the most challenging environment I have ever faced.
In June of this year, I spent 2014’s challenge on board the Pelican of London, working with my fellow Peel Ports workmates to sail the tall ship completely unaided - but always under the watchful eye of the crew - to our final destination. It was really hard work. We had to wake up at 4am and work right through until midnight, doing everything from bracing the helm, climbing the rigging and steering the course. Oh and our least favourite task of all: Captain’s Happy Hour. An hour of intensively cleaning the decks, so-called because it’s the only time that the Captain is happy!
The Apprentice Ship Cup has helped me to develop skills that I simply couldn't have learnt in the classroom. When you’re out at sea crewing a vessel, good communication skills and teamwork are essential. These are skills that I have been able to put into practice during my engineering apprenticeship at the Port of Liverpool.
Since I took part, I have noticed that my confidence has definitely grown. It sounds like a cliché, but now I know that I can really achieve something worthwhile if I push myself beyond what I might assume are my limits. I’ve also learned the value of helping other people on my team - a skill which is essential in an environment that has so many different people and departments working together to form the operational whole.
Last week, I was named the Institute of Mechanical Engineering’s 'Apprentice of the Year' for the Merseyside and North Wales region, which was a complete shock. I can honestly say that it was my time on the Apprentice Ship Cup which has helped me to grow as an individual and an apprentice within the Peel Ports team.
The Apprentice Ship Cup is returning in 2015 and the organisers are looking for even more apprentices to take part this time round and I hope to be one of them again. It really is an amazing experience and I would recommend it to any young apprentices out there who are looking for a challenge, want to meet new people and develop skills that they don’t even know they have.
I am extremely grateful to Peel Ports for giving me the chance to take part. It has been a great company to work for and I hope that there will be the opportunity to carry on working with them after I have completed my apprenticeship.
By Tom Price, Peel Ports apprentice
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