MORE than 200 people applied to become apprentice deckhands following a recruitment drive by an Island firm.
Seacat Services said the huge response showed a clear demand from young people for maritime training opportunities.
The company, based in Denmark Road, Cowes, offered 12 apprenticeships as it sought to expand its crew for a seven-strong fleet of offshore wind energy support vessels.
It said their new apprentices, aged 18 to 23, would work towards a Level 2 Diploma in maritime studies and a Certificate of Competence, working with Cowes-based maritime training provider Red Ensign and apprenticeship specialist, HTP Training, of Newport.
Shore-based training would take place at Red Ensign’s maritime training centre, in conjunction with work-based training onboard Seacat vessels under the mentorship of the master and mate for rotations of two to three weeks at sea.
Ian Baylis, managing director of Seacat Services, said: "It’s really a no-brainer to start making use of this vast pool of homegrown talent as the UK’s offshore wind industry expands.
"We’re hoping this scheme is the first of many for Seacat Services, and this kind of opportunity is something we’d like to see more of across the UK."
Andrew Dale, managing director of Red Ensign, added: "Offshore wind is a hugely exciting industry and the enthusiasm we’ve seen from young people locally is testament to this.
"We’ve always firmly believed that apprenticeships are the best way to introduce and nurture the next generation of UK seafarers."