Cammell Laird apprentices triumph in national WW1 award
Trainees from the Birkenhead specialist marine and engineering services company were handed the Centenary Apprenticeship Challenge trophy at an awards ceremony held in London.
The challenge was part of a campaign called Made by Apprentices 1914 – 2014 organised by the Skills Funding Agency and the Ministry of Defence. It aimed to show how apprentices have helped businesses develop home-grown talent since the beginning of the First World War.
The award recognised the Cammell Laird apprentices’ renovation of the historic HMS Liverpool bell, which is housed in Liverpool’s Church of Our Lady & St Nicholas and traditionally used for the baptism of seafarers’ children. The bell was donated by the MoD to Cammell Laird, who restored it, created a new stand and worked with the wider community on the project.
John Syvret CBE, Chief Executive of Cammell Laird, said: “We are very proud of the apprentices, who are great young ambassadors for the company. They did a fine job in refurbishing the bell, demonstrating skills, initiative and responsibilities both in the workplace and beyond.”
The challenge was established by the Prime Minister to help mark the centenary of the war. Trainees from 100 British companies that were trading during the 1914-18 war took part.
Cammell Laird built and repaired many ships during the 1914-18 war and was proud to take part in the project. It completed work on nine battleships, 60 cruisers, 100 British and 95 United States destroyers, eight submarines, 123 armed merchant vessels and 107 merchant ships. The Cunard passenger liner Campania and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co steamer Ben-My-Chee were also converted by the Birkenhead company into the Royal Navy’s first seaplane carriers.
Cammell Laird HR manager Danny Hart said the challenge highlighted the contribution of apprentices then and now. He said: “The team are really proud to have won. We attended the award ceremony onboard HMS St Albans in London and were delighted to receive a glass trophy from MP Philip Dunne, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology at the Ministry of Defence. Archive and contemporary photographs of Cammell Laird work and employees were also on show as part of an exhibition.”
The Cammell Laird team included pipe fitters, mechanical fitters, welders and fabricators, along with an apprentice joiner from partner-firm MPE Interiors, to help with the cabinet work for the bell.
The HMS Liverpool bell was upturned and used as a font to christen children during the destroyer’s life. An estimated 30 children were baptised using it. The apprentices created a new stand allowing the bell to be used as a font and a bell, and reflecting the church’s interior.
HMS Liverpool, a Type 2 destroyer, was in service from 1982 to 2012. The vessel made her final visit to Liverpool on February 29, 2012 and sailed past Cammell Laird. The Church of Our Lady & St Nicholas serves as Liverpool Parish Church and is known as the seafarers’ church. The current building dates from just after the Second World War although there has been a church on the site for more than 700 years.
PICTURES: Main photograph: Some of the winning apprentice team with Philip Dunne MP and the HMS Liverpool bell. Second picture: The full group of apprentices with the restored bell and new stand.