MCA Officer Trainee of the Year honoured at ceremony

An officer trainee described as ‘the most outstanding ever to teach and train’ by his nominating college has been awarded the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s Officer Trainee of the Year award.

Robert Bellis, 22, from the Wirral, who studied at the Liverpool John Moores University and trained with Ship Safe Training Group Ltd has been praised for his exceptional academic work and for his contribution to the teaching programme there.

The award was presented at Trinity House in London by Shipping Minister, the Rt Hon John Hayes as part of the Marine Society and Sea Cadets Annual Court (MSSC). Robert’s college Liverpool John Moores University and his sponsoring companies Ship Safe Training Group Ltd and The Conway Merchant Navy Trust were all invited to attend.

The maritime industry is of crucial importance to the UK. It brings £14 billion per year to the UK economy. An essential part of this is the vibrant maritime training programmes available to train new seafarers.

The award aims to encourage and recognise quality within the maritime industry. Nominations are made by nautical colleges alongside the trainee’s sponsoring company. The winner is decided by a panel of judges, including representatives from the MCA and other industry figures.

Robert said: ‘I am extremely honoured and surprised to have been chosen for this prestigious award. It is rewarding to learn that all of my hard work has been recognised by the industry.

‘It has been my ambition for many years to be a ship’s captain. My interest was sparked at the age of ten when I joined my local Sea Cadet unit. The Merchant Navy seemed like a fantastic way to get paid to do what I enjoy. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported me throughout my training.’

Shipping Minister John Hayes said:‘As an island nation, our rich maritime history is something we are rightly proud of, and the excellent training programmes offered by industry are inspiring future generations of seafarers.  I was delighted to present this award to such an outstanding recipient.  With trainees such as Robert, we can be sure that the UK’s maritime industry will continue to thrive.'

Sir Alan Massey, Chief Executive of the MCA said: ‘We are delighted that, once again, we’ve had a really high standard of entries for this award. Robert Bellis is an example of the kind of excellence that we want to encourage and promote within the maritime industry.

‘I wish Robert every success for what, I am sure, will be a career that reflects his outstanding qualities and commitment to the maritime industry.’

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