A maritime redundancy and retraining bursary fund aimed at helping UK-based seafarers who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic has now been extended until the end of 2021.
Funding bodies the Maritime Charities Group (MCG), Trinity House, the Nautilus Slater Fund and the Merchant Navy Welfare Board announced the extension to the MCG Redundancy and Retraining Bursary Fund, which is administered by the Marine Society on behalf of MCG.
The fund provides extra cash for training and refresher courses and is aimed at Merchant Navy seafarers who have lost work due to Covid-19 and want to stay in the industry, and those who want to retrain or upskill. Up to 48 applications have been approved since the fund was launched in November 2020 and over £20k awarded in grants, but another £20k is still available.
Chair of MCG Commander Graham Hockley explained: 'The fund was due to close at the beginning of May but with furlough coming to an end in September and many jobs under threat, the need for this kind of support hasn't gone away. With no government funding available for seafarer retraining, it makes sense to extend the scheme.'
The charities are particularly keen to receive applications from ratings, ferry crew and female seafarers. The bursary is aimed at UK Merchant Navy seafarers of all ranks and departments who can demonstrate a planned route back into a maritime-related role, whether seagoing or shore-side.
'The response so far has been really good but less so from ratings, ferry crew and women,' added Commander Hockley. 'Our message to these groups, and to any other UK-based seafarer who's lost work due to the pandemic, is that the MCG bursary could help you get back into employment or retrain for a new role in the industry. It covers everything from certificate renewal to writing job applications, from retraining to interviewing skills. Just go to the Marine Society website and apply today.'
Applicants can claim up to £500 towards training or qualifications of their choice.