CalMac’s boating lessons are guaranteed to float your boat

CalMac, the UK’s largest ferry operator, is looking for enthusiastic candidates for its modern, industry-leading apprenticeship programme.

Fancy a career at sea? The search for the best CalMac modern apprenticeship candidates is now on!

The ferry operator is looking for dedicated and enthusiastic young people between the ages of 17 and 24 who have a genuine passion for the maritime life to join one of its three industry-leading sailing programs – motor qualification, retail and bridge restoration or qualification.

CalMac is a recognized leader in learning at sea with the Merchant Navy. The Merchant Navy Training Board recently named CalMac Ferries as one of the top five UK companies for maritime learning.

Earning a place in CalMac’s modern apprenticeship program is a rewarding opportunity.

It could also mean that you start your career with an all-expenses-paid training. CalMac’s apprenticeship program pays well above the industry standard, as well as funding the cost of a college place in Glasgow city centre.

In addition to time at the college, the majority of training will take place aboard our ships, where apprentices will live for two weeks, before having two weeks off.

The recruitment drive kicked off during Scottish Apprenticeship Week (7-11 March 2022) and includes a social media campaign across all online channels including TikTok and Instagram.

Recognized as one of the most sought-after programs in Scotland and the maritime industry, the CalMac program has trained over 120 apprentices since its inception in 2013 – all who successfully complete the program are offered permanent jobs with them .

The Modern Apprenticeship (MA) program is part of CalMac’s commitment to developing and training young people to help them thrive.

Applicants can view apprenticeship opportunities and complete online applications here:


The Rewards and Benefits of a CalMac Seagoing Learning

We pay for your education, travel, accommodation and cover your meals when you’re away from home, no student loans required

Off-the-job college training

On-the-job training from experienced professionals who will help you through the process

Two weeks on and two weeks off

Your personal mentor to accompany you in a career at sea

Company pension plan

Excellent salary with increases throughout your training


“It’s unlike anything else you’ve done”

Case Study: Craig Evans


“I am a Senior Catering Assessor on MV Clansman which operates on various islands from Oban.

“I serve customers in the cafeteria, I work as a third person in the kitchen alongside the cooks and finally, as My Persons, I serve meals to the crew throughout the day while keeping the clean and up-to-date crew areas.

“Being from an island myself, CalMac has always been a part of my life. I love the work – you see new faces passing by, new people to interact with, especially in the summer when it’s busy , you have people from all over the world traveling.

“You can navigate some of the most wonderful roads where the landscape always looks different despite never changing. The weather and the times of the year mean that the view outside is constantly changing, and in other places in the world you’d pay a fortune for these views, but for us it’s our office window!

“I applied for a modern apprenticeship with CalMac because I wanted a change of scenery, something outside of my comfort zone.

“I had been working in offices since leaving school and this was an opportunity to shake things up and try a different career!

“When I was studying through apprenticeship I was lucky enough to live within driving distance of college, but it was a back to ‘education’ experience after many years away. We weren’t treated like kids, but mature. The teachers were very professional and knew we had life experience, so we didn’t promote learning in any way.

“I enjoyed the more physical aspects of the course, such as sea survival and firefighting.

“Joining my first ship was nerve wracking but everyone from the captain to the people I would work with made me feel welcome and helped me integrate easily into life at sea.

“All the time, there was always someone there when needed. Whether it was the training department, the ship’s senior brass or your buddies that you went through it all with and not forgetting your new colleagues.

“Working at sea is different, the ground moves a lot, especially in winter, you have to have sea legs quickly. It’s still pleasant, we have our own space to live and sleep, but we share the dining room dining and lounge areas with colleagues.

“Being away from home for a long time is not a vacation and is never easy, but you get used to it. It takes time to adapt, like you’re doing something new!

“If you’re not sure about a career at CalMac, that also means you’re not really sure about other things either, so take the plunge, I did it, and it worked. A good employer with a good working environment and benefits is not something to turn your nose up at.

“You need to come in with an open mind, especially if you’ve never worked at sea or away from home before, because it’s unlike anything else you’ll have done.
I’ve never really done a restoration, so doing restoration and at sea is a complete shock to my system, but I have no regrets.

“It also leads to a different work-life balance, but you tailor it to your liking and go from there. I wouldn’t change anything I did except wish I had made the change sooner!”

This article has been brought to you in association with CalMac

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