Marine engineering schools project receives three-year funding boost from Seafarers UK

June 6, 2019

Seafarers UK in partnership with Sea Cadets have launched the next phase of their joint Marine Engineering Pathway schools project. This aims to reach 37,500 school children across the UK over the next three years with STEM-linked taster sessions and workshops in marine engineering.

Since the launch of this project in 2016, Seafarers UK and its co-sponsor and delivery partner, Sea Cadets, have been working together to inspire and engage young people in schools and Sea Cadets units across the UK in learning more about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and to think about a future in marine engineering.

This has been done through the roll-out of six custom-built Mobile Learning Units (‘Pods’), based regionally across the UK. The project aims to increase access across the country to the heavy and expensive equipment which is essential for teaching marine engineering to young people. Each ‘Pod’ holds a sectioned engine, a working engine and an array of other marine engineering equipment.

Over the last three years the Marine Engineering Pathway project has engaged with thousands of young people, giving them a practical taste of marine engineering and the sector. In doing so it has provided them with a pathway into potential employment, thus benefiting the industry. After three years the initial phase of the project has shown excellent results, with more than 18,000 school students having so far taken part.

The evidence from teachers and students is that the project has made a real difference in inspiring young people about Marine Engineering and their GCSE choices. An external evaluation report of the project by Directory of Social Change revealed: an increase from 26% to 36% of students planning to study engineering; 72% of pupils reporting that they ‘would like to do more marine engineering activities’ in future; over two-thirds (67%) of pupils saying they have been inspired to learn more about STEM subjects, and almost half (49%) of students reporting that they would ‘consider a career in marine engineering’ following the workshop.

A three year extension to the project has now been agreed. With six Mobile Learning Units now in place across the UK, the updated programme will build on the success of the initial three-year pilot phase, aiming to deliver marine engineering taster sessions and workshops to 12,500 young people a year over three years (37,500 in total by the end of April 2022). This second phase will also involve the launch of a special marine engineering package for older students and cadets, helping to inspire further the next generation of young UK engineers.

Nigel Shattock, Director of Fundraising & Communications at Seafarers UK, said: ‘This has been an excellent demonstration of increased impact being achieved through close collaboration and partnership working. Phase two of this exciting project will seek to build on the initial success of our joint pilot scheme that was so generously supported by a number of key donors. We will now be seeking further support from trusts, individuals and corporates to help ensure that this innovative partnership programme successfully engages with the increased number of school children we are aiming to reach over the coming three years.’

Paul Wilkinson, Director of Outreach at Sea Cadets, said: ‘It is hugely exciting that Seafarers UK has decided to help fund the Marine Engineering Pathway project for a further three years. At Sea Cadets we specialise in educating our cadets for the future but this partnership support will allow us to take our expertise in STEM subjects to 37,500 school children over the span of the project and this will be vital in helping form the next generation of engineers. The increase in STEM subjects take-up by those school children that have experienced our workshops in the pilot phase is staggering, so we’re really excited to work with Seafarers UK to continue achieving such impact at this critical time for students.’

For more information about the project please see: