Marine School’s Multi-Million Pound Improvement Programme

Ribbon cut on Marine School’s multi-million pound improvement programme

The Marine School of South Shields
The Marine School of South Shields

A multi-million pound improvement programme will see the next generation of seafarers instructed on the latest state-of-the-art equipment, which includes a stunning full-mission bridge simulator.

The breath-taking centre, South Shields Marine School – at South Tyneside College’s Westoe campus, South Shields – has been years in the planning and will train all ranks of maritime personnel, from cadets to officers, chief engineers to chief ETOs, masters and pilots.

It has undergone an extensive transformation including £3m on upgrading facilities throughout the marine school, £1.5m on a simulator allowing students to ‘virtually’ sail any ship into any port in the world and operate most types of complex marine plants, £0.5m on halls for marine students and £2m on general upgrades that benefit all college students -including a learning resource centre, classrooms, workshops, learning zones and a refectory.

To herald the new dawn, Captain Ian McNaught, a foremost authority on UK shipping, cut the ribbon today (Friday, February 8th 2013) in front of delighted staff, shipping company representatives and other VIP guests.

Captain McNaught, the Deputy Master of Trinity House, which is the General Lighthouse Authority for England and Wales was welcomed to the college by Chair of Governors, Les Watson who gave a short introduction before the cutting took place.

Captain McNaught congratulated the college on acting on its vision of the future needs of the maritime industry.

The former commander of the QE2 said: “I am delighted to be here to officially open the South Shields Marine School. The outstanding facilities unveiled here today will ensure the college remains at the forefront of maritime education provision.”

Lindsey Whiterod, South Tyneside College’s Principal and Chief Executive, said the revamp and launch had been essential to ensure the marine school – founded in its original form in 1861 – remained a world leader

She said: “I am so very proud of the enhanced facilities here at South Shields Marine School and all that it represents in terms of the college’s future ambition.

“For more than 150 years the college has served the needs of shipping operators who want their staff to be trained to the highest possible standards.

“That is as true today as it always has been, and we remain one of the most prestigious, highly-rated and sought after training centres in the world – our reputation precedes us.

“This upgrade was necessary to ensure that we continue in that influential role.

“Generations of seafarers have been taught here and South Tyneside College is known throughout the world for the tremendous maritime expertise of South Shields Marine School. These improvements, along with our dedicated and talented maritime team, mean we can continue to rival the very best facilities that exist anywhere in the world.”

The full-mission bridge projection system, which includes Kongsberg K-Line type consoles, complemented by new full-mission engine room consoles, which include touch screen control and Kongsberg Big-View software, is at the core of the new facilities.

It gives an incredibly realistic view and portrayal of what it is like to be on a vessel’s bridge or engine room in various simulated situations.

College maritime experts say this and other improvements totalling £4.5 million fulfil the requirement of all the major shipping companies who spend thousands of pounds on every cadet they send for training as well as using the college to train more experienced seafarers to pass extra or promotion qualifications.

As such the marine school is recognised as one of the major educational centres for higher professional qualifications for deck, engineering and the new ETO qualifications training over 1,500 officers per year.

The school boasts a new 8-bridge Kongsberg desktop bridge simulation suite, integrated to VTS, and a digital CCTV recording and playback system operating throughout which will allow staff to monitor the non-technical skills of students. The latest VTS Kongsberg C Scope operator software in VTS Simulation has also been installed.

A key part of the overhaul is the installation of multiple cameras and microphones on to bridges as part of the marine school’s response to growing demands for training which addresses human actions and behaviours through Human Element Leadership and Management (HELM).

It is designed to reduce accidents and improve crew performance by studying skills such as team working, leadership, situational awareness, decision making and communication ie. what is said and implied through body language and gestures.

Thirty cameras and eight microphones have been installed in bridges and engine spaces to record what is said and by whom throughout each exercise. The results are utilised by an instructor on advanced recording and playback software.

The college’s G Block, close to Grosvenor Road, will be open to the public tomorrow, between 10am and 3pm (Saturday, February 9), for a Shipping Industry open day where anyone interested in a maritime career can see the facilities and speak to lecturers and shipping company representatives.

Those participating will be Clyde Marine Training, Jo Tankers, Pritchard Gordon Tankers, Bibby, Carnival Cruises, RFA, Princess Cruises, Shell, Ship Safe Training Group, Maersk, Sergo, Viking Recruitment, Chiltern Maritime and Anglo Eastern.

The simulation facilities can be seen in F Block, with L Block’s lecture hall hosting MNTB Careers at Sea DVD.

The college is further investing in a new climbing tower at its Marine Safety Training Centre – based by the river Tyne in South Shields with its partner Safety Technology – which will allow working at height to those aiming to work in the offshore wind market.

It will add to the centre’s existing facilities which include an environmental pool used for survival training, an eight-seat helicopter escape module, and offshore platform transfer simulator.

The centre, one of the foremost safety training facilities in the UK, is used by hundreds of organisations around the world. Courses utilise extensive and unique facilities in offshore safety training and include Europe’s first offshore wind transfer simulator.

A dip into the past..

advert for college

Advertisement in the 1915 Ainsley’s Nautical Almanac and Tide Tables

Published by TL Ainsley

Mill Dam South Shields – price 1 shilling (five pence)

The course for Extra Master was Three Guineas (£3.15)

The course for Extra First Class Engineer Four Guineas (£4.20)

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