About Us

Meet The Captain, meet the co-directors and find out about where the concept began

In 2017 John Spencer, MD of GPS Marine, invited Captain Edmund Hadnett, a Senior Marine Pilot with the PLA, to establish an Academy to deliver much-needed training to the workboat industry. Too many young people were struggling to pass the MCA Oral assessment for the new Boatmaster Licence since they were not attending a professional programme of study accredited by an awarding organisation.

They made an application to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) to deliver the Level 2 Diploma in Maritime Studies and to the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to be on the Registered List of Approved Training Providers to access the funding for apprenticeships.

The Academy gained recognition in 2019 and immediately recruited its first group of 12 apprentices to begin training at the end of that year.

Moving on Edmund is now also an External Verifier for the SQA where he is contracted to audit other training providers to ensure they deliver the high standards of assessment required to gain a Diploma.

Mark Lee, who is a workboat skipper at GPS Marine, has recently joined the team at the Academy to provide professional instruction in workboat operations gained from 20 years working in this sector of the marine industry. Having established the BML apprenticeship the Academy is now moving forward to deliver the Workboat Crewmember apprenticeship in support of the STCW Master II/3 <500GT near coastal certificate of competence. In this way John & Edmund have established a training facility to deliver a government funded, professional programme of study in support of the internationally recognised licences required by those in the UK workboat sector. The Academy is co-located with GPS Marine at Upnor on the River Medway with a large well-equipped, training room. A Transas simulator with 6 work stations is used to deliver the SQA accredited Small Ships Radar and Electronic Navigation course which is recognised by the MCA. STCW courses are arranged with the team at North Kent College and RYA practical sailing courses with Albatross Sailing which has a Jeanneau 379 yacht and operates from Burnham Yacht Harbour on the River Crouch.

Edmund Hadnett, Director & Master Mariner

John Spencer, Managing Director, GPS Marine Holdings Ltd

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