Maritime college seeking student work placements with non UK-based companies due to Brexit fears

Fear of a hard Brexit has prompted the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) to seek work placements for its students with non UK-based companies.

Maritime college seeking student work placements with non UK-based companies due to Brexit fears

Fear of a hard Brexit has prompted the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) to seek work placements for its students with non UK-based companies.

Meanwhile, the college has also written to industry partners pointing out that a number of its students have signaled that they're not willing to work with companies which aren't mitigating against climate change.

Cormac Gebruers, who is head of the NMCI, said the ever-looming possibility of a hard Brexit "was huge" for the college which has 450 undergraduates.

"Up to now there has been a tradition that the college worked closely with the shipping industry in the UK for placements," Mr Gebruers said.

"Many of our cadets and qualified officers would go to work with companies based in the UK. Some of these companies have already re-flagged out of the UK, such as P&O, because of concerns they also have about a hard Brexit," he said.

NMCI officials are now actively seeking working arrangements with companies based in mainland Europe to provide placements for their students.

"Well over half of our students are working with UK-based companies at present. We hope it won't happen (a hard Brexit) because we have a great relationship with companies based in the UK. But we are deeply concerned about that possibility," Mr Gebruers said.

He said amid the uncertainty, the college "has a duty to our cadets" to find work placements for them and so the thrust of link-up with provider companies was shifting from the UK to the European mainland instead.

Mr Gebruers said that in particular the college was looking for links with the shipping industries in the Scandinavian countries and to a slightly lesser extent in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

"Business as usual is not an option now. Even if it (Brexit) was stopped tomorrow the damage has already been done," the NMCI boss added.

He also pointed out that there was a growing awareness among students of climate change, possibly prompted by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish campaigner.

"Some were saying they didn't want to work for industries which were not mitigating against climate change," Mr Gebruers said.

The NMCI hosts an open day every November and invites shipping companies and other industry partners to attend.

"We have written to all the companies attended and said students are likely to ask them questions about this and they should have answers," Mr Gebruers said.

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