Orkney Islands Council’s Marine Services and Orkney College UHI’s Maritime Studies Department have teamed up to deliver a new Marine Engineering course at the ‘Nav School’ in Stromness.
The Approved Engine Course Part 1 (AEC1) course has been developed by Maritime Studies Engineering Lecturer Keith Nicol in discussion with the MCA, with Orkney Islands Council’s Marine Services providing access to the diesel engine on the MV Graemsay for the practical elements of the course.
Marine Services also provided a member of staff to carry out end of course assessments for the pupils.
With the MCA currently developing a national syllabus for Marine Engineering, the newly MCA-approved course in Orkney is now the most up to date in the UK.
The AEC1 is essential for any workboat or other coded vessel that is working without a qualified engineer. The course also doubles as a building block to more advanced Merchant Navy engineering qualifications which the Maritime Studies department is keen to develop in the near future.
The course covers essential diesel engine checks, maintenance, trouble-shooting and repairs that might be carried out at sea. Pumps, fuel supply, electrics, turbochargers and waste regulations are among the other areas the course looks at.
Orkney College UHI’s Engineering Lecturer Keith Nicol said: “Reflecting on this initial course I have to say it has been well worth the challenge it posed and it’s great to see it up and running and approved. The students that were involved with this first course couldn’t have been better and that helped me immensely. I have to extend thanks to all at the Nav School and at Marine Services for supporting me in getting this course off the ground. I envisage that the course will evolve a bit as we deliver it and find out things of relevance that could be added. We gave gathered almost all the kit we need and the content is all there but there is always room for subtle tweaks and additions. I hope we can now start to look at the AEC part 2 and begin planning it in 2019. It’s exciting times for the Nav School.”
David Hibbert, Technical Superintendent for OIC Marine Services, commented: “The benefit of having teaching facilities for Marine Engineering Staff in Orkney has been a long term ambition for Marine Services as previously the only courses available were further south or even in Shetland.
“The saving in time and expenses is hugely beneficial to the Council’s marine operation but also the development of an academic resource which can be called upon to assist with current and future projects. Sharing some existing resources to allow these courses to get established is a negligible cost compared to the immediate and wider benefits. Further developments in this area will be welcomed as they become available to us.”
Mark Shiner, Curriculum Leader at the Nav School , said: “This was a great example of joint working and the assistance from Marine Services was fantastic. They were also able to supply us with some redundant spares, all of which are required for teaching the course.
“When we are able to work in partnership with the marine sector in this way, we can get so much more achieved. The Nav School is here, like the rest of Orkney College, to ensure that people can train for the jobs they want locally without having to go away and this new course will continue to ensure that.”