Attendees of the 2018 Clyde Marine Training conference had to battle the remnants of the ‘Beast from the East’ to make it to the Crowne Plaza on Tuesday 6th March, but everyone seemed to agree it had been worth the effort after a day of engaging, informative and inspiring presentations and workshops from an eclectic group of presenters.

Clyde Marine Training General Manager Katy Womersley kicked off the event by thanking guests for attending, who were drawn from a range of backgrounds including representatives from colleges, sponsoring companies, governing bodies and cadets in training. She then handed over to Training Manager Chris Blair and Administration Manager Fiona Brown, who outlined the range of improvements to our recruitment process that have been implemented in the last 18 months, not least of which was the launch of our new website in January 2018.

We then heard from MNTB Director Kathryn Neilson who discussed the ongoing review of SMarT+ before full implementation, a timely discussion concerning role of ‘Women in Maritime’, and finally an overview of the MNTB’s Maritime Training Centre Recognition Services programme, which aims to better recognise and standardise the quality of training provided to seafarers, and which our sister company Clyde Training Solutions is one of the test centres.

There then followed three presentations from organisations that CMT have partnered with over the last 2-3 years as we look to give something back to the wider sector and communities within which we work

Iain Sim, Secretary of The Friends of TS Queen Mary II, and Stephen Taylor a 3rd year Cadet with CMT, discussed the successful restoration of a former, and happily again current Glasgow icon that had fallen into bad condition.

Iain approached CMT Director Colin McMurray for assistance two years ago, which resulted in the creation of a team of cadet volunteers from within CMT ranks, but also as Iain described “a gateway to a host of badly needed corporate and educational partners, none of whom would have been possible without the help and introduction by Clyde Marine Training.”

Laurence Brady, representing the Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation was next up and gave a powerful presentation regarding the Buoyed-Up charity.  The charity offers 10-12 year olds from some of Glasgow, and indeed the UK’s most deprived areas opportunities to learn about teamwork and leadership that they might never have experienced, through 5-day sailing trips, and classroom interaction days with CMT Training Officers, and as Laurence described: “allows these youngsters to ‘fall in love’ with their future again, by showing them a future that they didn’t think possible.”

And finally, before lunch the guests were made to sing for their supper, with Dr Susan Scurlock and Lise McCaffrey from Primary Engineering, explaining the ethos of the programme which brings together primary school children across Scotland and the UK with Engineers to explore solutions to real world problems and hopefully inspiring them to become inventors themselves.

The presentation then became interactive with guests at each table asked to judge and select finalists from real live submissions, with the overall winner announced at the evening’s dinner.  We look forward to seeing them presented as part of the Primary Engineer exhibition at Strathclyde University’s Barony Hall from June 6-8th which is open to the public.

Clyde Marine Training are a headline partner of the Primary Engineer programme and it is expected that a record 30,000 children in Scotland alone to take part in this innovative scheme in 2018.

Captain Rick Thomas had the unenviable task of presenting immediately after lunch, but managed this task with ease as he discussed his diverse aviation background and the contrasts in entry training between this and the Merchant Navy.

The conference then broke into workshops with attendees getting the chance to debate topics at the forefront of many people’s minds within the marine sector, namely Brexit (hosted by Tim Reardon – UK Chamber of Shipping), Ratings Training (hosted by Robert Carrington – UK Chamber of Shipping), and Cadet Forum feedback where representatives get to discuss with cadets the topics that really matter to them.

And as is traditional, the conference proper ended with the always popular ‘Meet the Cadets’ Q&A session, hosted this year by Senior Training Officer Christopher Reynolds, and Client Relationship Manager Nicola Arnott.  It is always a genuine delight to hear directly from cadets their everyday experiences and the challenges that may be facing them as they look to become fully fledged officers.

That didn’t mark the end of the day, however, with guests crossing the River Clyde from the hotel to the Glasgow Science Centre, where they enjoyed a star show in the planetarium, followed by a fantastic dinner attended by the Glasgow Lord Provost Eva Bolander, who complimented CMT on a successful conference and for maintaining our position as the UK’s leading maritime Cadet Training provider.

The Science Centre was chosen in recognition of the fact that it is the ‘Year of the Engineer; and what better place to recognise the many advancements that engineering has brought us.

We hope that everyone who attended enjoyed the day and night as much as us, and we look forward to doing it all again in 2020!