THE creation of a North-East shipping school will help give youngsters the skills they need for an 'invisible industry', it has been claimed by industry experts.

The Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers has partnered with Stockton Riverside College to introduce the first phase of a dedicated shipping school to the region.

Bringing together employers, industry experts and educators, the North East School of Shipping (NESS) will help to demystify the sector, putting it firmly on the radar of those considering their future careers.

By developing a future skilled workforce, the school, which is the Institute’s first in the UK outside of London, aims to help tackle both current and future skills gaps.

PD Ports chief executive officer Frans Calje, said: “With over 95 per cent of all UK imports arriving in the country on a ship, it’s easy to see how the maritime industry is critical to the UK economy and society generally yet it lacks visibility, in particular, amongst young people.

"Our aim through the North East School of Shipping is to raise visibility of the abundance of opportunities and variety of roles available, making it a career of choice for the next generation in the Tees Valley."

"If you want to make a career in shipping, which is a very exciting opportunity, then you have to travel all the way down to London. This is, once again, the Tees Valley taking the lead on something new.

"The skills shortage is a huge issue. When you come out of school, children are looking at where they can get the skills they need to launch their career path.

"As a huge employer, we have to be far more in control of the process, making sure the people we need in the future are equipped with the skills."

The North East School of Shipping will provide a range of courses to those starting out in the shipping industry, delivered by Stockton Riverside College.

Nikki Sayer, Chair of the North East branch of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and Customs Manager at Casper Shipping, said: “The whole journey of products coming from the other side of the world is invisible to people and shipping is a massive part of that. We want to open people’s eyes to the vast opportunities that are out there and offer accessible training for those starting out and also those progressing in their careers.”

Michael Duffey, Stockton Riverside College’s Head of Department for Construction and Professional Services, said: “The College has been working closely with industry employers and experts for several years to provide training opportunities and raise awareness of the logistics industry, resulting in the Tees Valley Logistics Academy. The introduction of the Shipping School with the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers seemed like a natural progression in our mission to raise awareness and help to plug future skills gaps.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, added: “By locating the new Shipping School here in the Tees Valley it means our young people can develop the right skills safe in the knowledge that what they are learning is exactly what they need to get on and develop a career.”