Port Training Services was established when the Port of Blyth identified the need for quality training within its own organisation and wished to embrace the new modern culture of vocational training through NVQs.
As there were no existing training providers with the knowledge and expertise in the complexities of port operations. The only option was for the Port to develop their own organisation to take over this responsibility.
The port decided to invest heavily in establishing its own training division to ensure that their staff could get adequate training and support, to achieve an NVQ level 2 or 3 in Port Operations. This required the recruiting and training of suitable staff as well as constructing a specialised training centre.
Port Training Services, could then offer the full range of support and training not only to its own staff, but also to the employees of other port operators.
Initially Port Training Services worked tirelessly with the LSC (now SFA) to achieve a Train to Gain contract and went onto successfully complete 41 NVQ achievements in, 17 at level 3 and 24 at level 2 (July 2009).
This was a new challenge and a very steep learning curve for the port, firstly getting to grips with the strict requirements of dealing with government funding and OFSTED requirements and to engage with the workforce who still had the ethos of traditional heavy industry, by encouraging them to participate in this new experience.
The NVQ was the catalyst for creating a new outlook in a range of other areas, such as Functional Skills, which was expanded to offer all candidates the chance to achieve literacy, numeracy and ICT at level 1 or 2.
Healthy lifestyle and financial awareness were other programmes, which were also added, this helped to promote a new approach on health, work and well-being. This was recognised by winning the National Business Award 2010.
Port Training Services has now proved itself as a major provider in the area of Port Operations Training, from being initially instrumental in developing a new Maritime Occupations Framework in conjunction with Port Skills and Safety and the Maritime Skills Alliance. It is now able to deliver NVQ and Apprenticeship programmes throughout the UK for the whole of the Port and Marine Sector, stretching from Orkney in the North to Jersey in South. These qualifications are accredited by EAL and SQA as the recognised awarding bodies.
Port Training Services expanded by utilising the extensive plant equipment to deliver specialised heavy plant training for the Port, Marine and Industry Sector, as an NPORS accredited centre, who deliver training in the real work environment. This facility is now available on a commercial basis, to any interested parties either companies or individuals.
In line with the Blyth Harbour Commission Trust Port Status, of working for the benefit of the local community, Port Training Service play an active role in satisfying these requirements particularly with the support it provides for the Blyth Tall Ship Project and being an active partner in the development of the Blyth Education and Community Hub.