Students Scoop Prizes at NAFC Marine Centre Annual Prize Giving –

Students Scoop Prizes at NAFC Marine Centre Annual Prize Giving Published:  05 November, 2012

Students given awards at Shetland marine centre annual prize giving.

Ten students proudly accepted awards for their academic achievements at Shetland’s NAFC Marine Centre UHI’s 22nd annual prize giving today (2 November 2012).

NAFC Marine Centre Director Professor David Gray gave the opening address: “I always look forward to these kinds of celebrations, which are the culmination of a lot of hard work and dedication.

“The centre is here to support the community, industry and economy and we do this through providing a very high standard of training, education and research. We pride ourselves in delivering excellence – and so we are delighted to be here again celebrating the achievements of yet another group of outstanding students.

“Credit for this success must be given to both the students and staff – past and present – who deliver excellent results year upon year.”

Jan Rigden, Head of Shetland School of Nautical Studies, then invited the guest of honour, Captain George Sutherland, former chairman of the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses, to address the audience before presenting the prizes. Captain Sutherland said: “It is always a privilege and pleasure to be asked to come and take part in this ceremony. The NAFC is a centre of excellence and has established an international reputation within the industry as a first class training provider, with the students being highly sought after. I do hope that the Centre can continue to produce the high quality work that it is so well known for.”

The first prize to be awarded was the Forbes Watt Prize for Navigation, which was given to Grant Johnson from Vidlin for his hard work and application in class, and the excellent examination results which followed. Grant said: “I’m delighted to have won and I would like to thank all the staff for their support throughout my course.” Grant was sponsored by Island Innovations.

The next winner was James Arthur Shearer from Whalsay, who won the Jeanette Williamson Prize for Class 2 Fishing (Deck Officer). James first studied at the centre in 2003 as a new entrant fish catching skill seeker, and currently sails on local fishing boat the Tranquillity. Commenting afterwards Mr Rigden said: “It is really pleasing that James has gained his Deck CoC as he already holds a Class 2 Fishing Vessel Engineer CoC. We wish him every success in the future.”

The Bells Nautical Trust Prize for outstanding effort by a deck cadet was won by Adam Thomson from Lerwick. Jan Rigden continued: “Adam is a hardworking and mature student who applied himself to the utmost throughout the last phase of the programme, completing all his work, and being a real asset in the class. It is a pleasure to see this kind of development in a student and this award is well deserved.” Adam is sponsored by Gulf Offshore through Clyde Marine.

Adam said: “I was part of a very hard working class so I really wasn’t expecting to win this award. It’s very encouraging to be recognised for my work and I’m grateful to all the staff for their support. I’m now going to do a Dynamic Positioning course in Aberdeen and my prize money will go towards funding that.”

The Northern Lighthouse Board (Deck Cadet) prize was awarded to Jamie Lee Jennings.

Jamie said: “I have been aiming towards winning this award so I’m thrilled to have met that goal and to be rewarded for my hard work. I’m going to save my prize money and spend it on further study in order to develop my career.”

The Nautical Institute Prize for a first year deck cadet was won by Tammy Stewart of Whalsay. His prize was accepted on his behalf by his mother Mary. Tammy started studying at NAFC Marine Centre several years ago as a fish catching skill seeker which he completed successfully, after which he completed a national certificate in engineering at the Centre. He then went to work in the aquaculture sector for a few years before deciding that a career as a merchant navy officer was attractive and joined the NAFC cadet programme. Tammy is a good example of how students can migrate across different sectors in the maritime industries. Tammy Stewart is sponsored by Solstad Offshore UK through Clyde Marine.

Duncan Kidson, Shetland School of Nautical Studies Engineering Section Leader, introduced the remainder of the awards.

The Northern Lighthouse Board (Engineer Cadet) prize was awarded to Steven Boyd of Edinburgh. Mr Kidson commented: “Steven was determined to do well from day one of his cadetship. Despite being out of full time education for a few years he applied himself and put in many hours of study to achieve excellent results. He also became a proud father in the middle of his studies.” Steven is sponsored by Marineco UK Ltd.

The next award winner was Jerry Gibson, originally from Rousay in Orkney, who won the Clyde Marine Training Prize for the company’s best sponsored engineering cadet. Jerry was sponsored by Northlink Ferries Ltd through Clyde Marine Training. Mr Kidson said: “Jerry has been an exceptional cadet from day one. She gained the respect of both staff and students through her commitment to achieve the best results she could, and also her willingness to help other students try to do the same.”

Jerry also won the North Star Shipping award for outstanding effort by an engineer cadet.

Mr Kidson continued: “Jerry won this prize for all the same reasons as the previous award. I cannot praise her highly enough. She was also runner up in the prestigious National MCA Officer Cadet of the Year Award, just missing out on being the number one cadet in the whole country. NAFC is very proud to have Jerry as an ambassador for the Centre, Shetland and the Merchant Navy.”

Jerry said: “I wouldn’t have achieved as much as I have done if I hadn’t come to the NAFC Marine Centre to study. The training is absolutely superb and I’ve really enjoyed my time here.”

The next prize to be awarded was the NAFC Marine Centre Engineering Modern Apprentice of the Year, and the winner was Christopher Strmsek from Wadbister, who served his apprenticeship with Shetland Islands Council Infrastructure. Mr Kidson commented: “Christopher is a very worthy winner of this year’s award. His final portfolio was of a very high standard and showed his mature attitude, attention to detail and the high level of engineering skills he possesses.”

The final award was the Jim Thomas memorial prize, presented to Magnus Scott from Papa Stour, who works for Blueshell Mussels. Mr Kidson concluded: “Magnus embodied the qualities that the late Jim Thomas valued in a student; he shows an interest in all the subjects and works hard to produce good results with his usual cheery and pleasant manner.”

Jan Rigden then thanked The Hunter and Morrison Trust for their sponsorship, Captain George Sutherland for presenting the prizes, all the companies that had provided trophies and prizes, and all those present for attending.