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Cammell Laird recruits 20 new apprentices taking investment to £19million

posted on November 13, 2019 categories In The Community, Recruitment

Merseyside UK ship repairer, shipbuilder, and engineering services company Cammell Laird has recruited 20 new apprentices to its workforce.

The famous Birkenhead company says it has completed the most rigorous recruitment process ever undertaken with the 20 recruits starting their four-year apprenticeship this autumn at a cost of £250,000-a-year and £1million in total.

Cammell Laird chief operating officer Tony Graham said the new starters will take the total number of apprentices recruited into the business to 270 since 2008 with an ambition to take on 20 more every year. To date the company has invested more than £18million in its apprentice programme making it one of the biggest in the UK maritime industry and Northern Powerhouse region. The latest in-take will take the investment to £19million.

Cammell Laird’s new in-take of apprentices stand beside River Mersey overlooking Liverpool waterfront

“We warmly welcome our new apprentices to their roles,” he said. “The sky is the limit for apprentices here at Cammell Laird with many of our senior management including myself and our CEO John Syvret starting their careers as an apprentice. The message we want to give young people, their parents, schools and colleges is that an apprenticeship offers as much opportunity as a university degree. At Cammell Laird you can start your career learning on the job, giving you the skills and training required for a high achieving career. You can become productive quickly and you will be financially better off than many young people going to university as you are effectively being paid to learn rather than having to get into debt. Then the apprenticeship is designed to secure a well-paid skilled job on completion with the company. We should also emphasize that by joining Cammell Laird you can help make a genuine difference to our community. Cammell Laird’s success helps underpin job and wealth creation on Merseyside and we’ve been able to generate £350million for the local and UK economy since 2013 employing 1500 direct and indirect workers and 300 small business suppliers at peak times.”

Cammell Laird’s new in-take of apprentices walk past RRS Sir David Attenborough

Mr Graham said this year’s in-take is drawn from the Merseyside region and is aged between 16 and 27.

“We want to issue a positive message built around Cammell Laird’s future order book with customers like the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, the Royal Navy and BAE Systems – we have lots of work over the next ten years (see work pipeline below),” he said. “But there is a skills gap on Merseyside and in the maritime industry. We cannot find all the people and skills we need so we are having to invest into training the next generation hence why we really want schools to get behind the job opportunities here. We have shown by building the RRS Sir David Attenborough that Cammell Laird is back in the ‘premier league’ of shipbuilding, building iconic world-famous ships. And the new group of apprentices were able to board the new polar ship for the recent Royal ship naming with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge which sent a very strong message to them about the opportunities they have at Cammell Laird. We urge more young people to follow our apprentices and think of a career in engineering and maritime and join us on our upward trajectory.”

Cammell Laird COO Tony Graham addresses new apprentice in-take

Mr Graham said the new apprentices will be divided into mechanical fitters, pipefitters, platers and welders.

“We have been working with our partner the Engineering College, which neighbours the shipyard, on recruiting the apprentices who will now undertake their training at the college,” he said. “This was a thorough five-stage recruitment process that saw 100 people apply initially which was eventually reduced to the final 20 recruits. We looked at their educational achievements, community activities and then undertook a team-building day before staging interviews with the HR and production departments. We know a large number of those who just missed out, on being selected, will be able to come back next year stronger and stand a great chance of securing an apprenticeship with greater understanding of what we are looking for.”



Callum Duncan

I am proud to be an apprentice at Cammell Laird because of its specialist engineering services and illustrious history in British industry. I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to complete the apprenticeship course and become a skilled tradesman. Also my dad has worked at Cammell Laird for over 25 years and become a valued member of a team, which makes him the perfect role model for me because I am starting in the same position as he did with a goal to go on a similar career path.

Callum Sudlow. 

Being the oldest apprentice on the course I consider myself lucky, aged 27, I thought I would be too old to be considered for one of the places.

I have a son and partner, so to be given the chance to better myself, gain a qualification and a trade to provide a better quality of life for my family is something I won’t take for granted. I think it’s great that Cammell Laird is open to giving people of different ages an opportunity to gain an apprenticeship.

Harry Ball

As a young apprentice at the age of 16, Cammell Laird has allowed me to take the opportunity to become a qualified engineer by the age of 20 with their 4 year engineering course. This is a very exciting opportunity for me as my dad and both my grandfathers worked at the yard and it is brilliant become part of a famous local company with an illustrious history. Apprenticeships open more paths to employment and becoming self reliant.

Cammell Laird’s new in-take of apprentices stand in modular construction hall, one of the largest in Europe

Notes to editors:


Royal Fleet Auxiliary
In October 2018 Cammell Laird won two 10-year contracts to support the Royal Fleet Auxiliary worth an estimated £619million. This is a massive boost for the company and will enable us to continue to invest in our workforce, apprenticeship programme and infrastructure. The contract will sustain more than 300 jobs at the company and in the supply chain and create more than 100 apprenticeships.

Type 45 destroyers

In March 2018 Cammell Laird, in alliance with BAE Systems and BMT, was awarded part of a £160m contract to upgrade and modernise the power propulsion systems on the Royal Navy Type 45 destroyers. This was a major achievement for Cammell Laird and our contribution to the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Ballistic missile submarines

In October 2018, the company was awarded a further contract to support BAE Systems with the delivery of four ballistic missile boats – successors to Britain’s Vanguard-class submarines that represent the UK’s strategic nuclear deterrent force. The contract will see Cammell Laird produce a total of 29 components for the four ballistic missile boats. All are either outer or inner hull items, as BAE Systems will construct the pressure hulls itself. Units include decks and bulkheads that will be fitted inside the submarine, along with keels for the pressure hull to sit on if it rests on the seabed. Additional units range from ballast tanks to a bridge fin that houses the conning tower, aerials and periscope. Production is underway, with the final module due to leave Birkenhead for Barrow-in-Furness in 2030. The project differs from the hunter-killer submarine contract in that Cammell Laird will build from raw materials rather than ready-made components. Between 140 and 160 employees are expected to work on the project, with construction of parts for each boat due to overlap.


Background Cammell Laird is one of the most famous names in British industry. The company was founded in 1828 and is based on the River Mersey in the Liverpool City Region on the west coast of Britain. The company’s Birkenhead site expands across 130 acres and includes four dry docks, a large modular construction hall and extensive covered workshops. It is at the centre of a marine and engineering cluster with easy access to support services classification societies and port state authorities.

Cammell Laird’s new in-take of apprentices with RRS Sir David Attenborough and RFA vessels in background