In this month’s edition of our ‘Member Profile’, we spoke with Darrell Bate from the Marine Society & Sea Cadets, Britain’s oldest, and the leading maritime charity for youth development and lifelong learning…
Can you tell us about Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC)?
Marine Society is Britain’s oldest maritime charity, dating back to 1756, originally founded to recruit young boys for the Royal Navy. Nowadays, we support the wider maritime sector, both ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ sides with apprenticeship training, online courses, bursaries, careers advice and even a crew library and bookshop service.
What is your role within the Company?
I came onboard as the Marine Society’s Director of Maritime Training and Development in 2019. I head up a department who’s purpose it to support and serve aspiring seafarers and professionals through education, training and careers support. Developing maritime curriculum for schools and colleges and delivering a range of apprenticeships and online learning courses via the Marine Society College and in partnership with the Sea Cadets.
What is your career background?
I started my career in the Merchant Navy as a deck officer. I had previously worked in further and higher education for 20 years, so it was wonderful to find a job that combined both elements.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I have my own boat, a 34’ trawler yacht which takes up a lot of spare time (and money). I also enjoy theatre and film, having been an actor myself in a previous life!
What has MSSC achieved so far?
In April there was the official opening of the National Support Centre, which is an administrative hub for the Sea Cadets and is by far the larger element of the work of the charity. We’re based near the IMO in central London so well placed for shipping firms as well. We are also always seeking new ways of supporting seafarers. Following COVID-19 it has become very evident that seafarers are key workers and face very difficult working conditions. Our learning programmes are specifically designed to help them progress their careers and we now have a well-developed mentoring programme to support those who want to leave the sea and come ashore.
What is Learn@Sea?
Simply put, it is online learning for personal development and accredited qualifications. We believe seafarers deserve access to life-enhancing education wherever they are in the world. Our Learn@Sea platform offers practical courses that can be studied anywhere at any time and for a very reasonable cost. For example, English can be difficult, especially when you’re away from home and working long hours, but they are essential subjects if you want to get promoted, move ashore, or develop other skills for your career. Alternatively, we also started the LEARN@SHORE series. If you are looking to further your maritime career shoreside then we have an eclectic range of courses to help refine or develop your skillset for a job role ashore. Our range covers everything from fundamental core subjects to sector specific commercial shipping courses – Marine Insurance, Port Management, Tanker Chartering and Shipping Law for example.
What is the MSSC’s involvement with Apprenticeships?
The Marine Society and Sea Cadets is a government approved training provider specialising in marine and outdoor apprenticeships. Whether you are an employer looking to take on an apprentice or train your existing staff or an aspiring apprentice looking for the right training opportunity, you can find all the relevant information on our website. MSSC Apprenticeships include; Workboat Crewmember, Officer of the Watch (Near Coastal), Marina and Boatyard Operative, Outdoor Activity Instructor, Port Operative, and Port Agent.
What can you say about volunteering with MSSC?
Please sign up!! We can only meet demand for Sea Cadet places where we have the volunteers. We have a well-structured training programme in place for volunteers, previous experience not necessary although by nature, we do attract those coming from a naval or maritime background. It is very rewarding, and you get lots of boating opportunities including aboard our offshore fleet of power and sail vessels.