CalMac has been forced to abandon its apprenticeship programme due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ferry operator had been planning to recruit 20 modern apprentices into deck, engine and hospitality roles this year, but the process has now been postponed until 2021.

The company had already received around 450 applications for this year’s intake.

CalMac’s director of HR, Christine Roberts, said: “We have considered a full range of options to continue with recruitment but it is with regret none of them are practical.

“Our current intake of modern apprentices (MAs) are currently stood down from physical duties on full pay, and continuing to study online at home which will add on an extra six months to their training.

"If we simply postponed recruitment until later in the year. We would be out of sync with our training partner City of Glasgow College’s curriculum, we also do not have the capacity to have two sets of MAs working with us at the same time.”

She added: “All applicants will automatically be considered again next year and have the opportunity to update their application with any relevant experience gained in the meantime.”

CalMac has employed more than 100 MAs since introducing the programme five years ago and for next year’s intake the ferry operator is planning to expand it to include more shore side roles.

Ms Roberts said: “Our MA programme is a key part of our talent pipeline making sure we are training the next generation of seafarers. We continue to be 100 per cent committed to delivering this, but unfortunately under the current crisis circumstances we will not be able to progress the programme this year, our priority has to be ensuring our current MAs are fully supported.”

The operator has also announced that its Essential Lifeline Timetable would be extended to at least May 7 in line with government lockdown guidelines.


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