UKSA is a maritime youth charity and world-renowned training centre of excellence.

We inspire and support children and young people to broaden their horizons through inspirational water-based adventures, education and training for careers at sea.

We are passionate about enhancing life skills, developing resilience, confidence and teamwork. UKSA’s ambition is to work with more and more children and young people who need our help most, helping build positive futures and pathways into maritime employment.

We remove financial and social barriers by providing funding so that everyone from all walks of life can access our programmes. We rely on the generosity of donors and partners to help us transform children and young people’s lives.

In partnership with the Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC) UKSA delivers three maritime apprenticeships.

Level 2 Port Operative Apprenticeship 

The Level 2 Port Operative apprenticeship is designed to give the apprentice all the necessary skills, knowledge, and qualifications to safely and competently carry out port operative duties.  

A Port Operative plays a vital role in allowing businesses and organisations to deliver goods and cargo on time and within a safe environment. They are primarily responsible for loading, unloading, handling, and storing cargo from container and transport vessels at a port. Other duties include: 

  • Warehousing, storage, and retrieval 
  • Roll-on/roll-off vessel operations 
  • Infrastructure operations 
  • On-shore mooring & vessel handling 
  • Passenger operations & handling baggage 
  • Workplace transport operations 
  • Operating heavy machinery

Programme: 12-18 months 

Prerequisites: 18+, no experience required  

Level 2 Able Seafarer (Deck) 

The Level 2 Able Seafarer (Deck) apprenticeship is designed to give the apprentice all the skills, knowledge, and behaviours to work on a wide variety of specialist vessels in the Merchant Navy and Royal Navy.  

The broad purpose of the Able Seafarer is to support the vessel arriving at its destination or meeting another objective (such as unloading cargo), in line with the requirements set out by the ships Master. Key competencies include: 

  • Navigation and seamanship 
  • Ship operations 
  • Watchkeeping 
  • Equipment and machinery operation 
  • Safety and emergency procedures 
  • Seamanship and knot tying 
  • Environmental awareness 

Programme: 18 months 

Prerequisites: 16+, no experience required  

Level 3 Small Commercial Vessel Crewmember 

The Level 3 Small Commercial Vessel Crewmember apprenticeship is designed to give the apprentice all the skills, knowledge, and behaviours to work in the rapidly expanding workboat sector.  

Workboat crew members work on a variety of specialist commercial vessels typically less than 24m in length such as tugs, pilot boats, crew transfer and supply vessels. They operate these in different marine environments including offshore wind farms, ports, and inland waterways. Key competencies include: 

  • Communication using VHF/UHF radios 
  • Navigation and vessel handling 
  • Berthing and mooring vessels 
  • Towing operations and laying moorings 
  • Safe practices on board 
  • Cargo handling using slings, cranes and securing cargo 

Programme: 12-18 months 

Prerequisites: 16+, no experience required  


44 (0)1983 203038  

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A UKSA apprentice steers a large boat with the printed letters UKSA on the side

Contact UKSA

Arctic Road
West Cowes
Isle of Wight
PO31 7PQ
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