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Hunt for Waverley apprentices

THE charity which operates the 65-year-old Clyde paddle steamer Waverley is seeking more recruits from Scottish companies and colleges to participate in its Waverley Academy training scheme.

HARD AT WORK: Apprentice Alan Gemmell has helped to rebuild a 1947 steam fire pump.
HARD AT WORK: Apprentice Alan Gemmell has helped to rebuild a 1947 steam fire pump.

The Waverley Academy has already hosted two apprentices from Glasgow-based engineering giant Weir Group, Alan Gemmel and William Douglas, who stripped down and rebuilt a pump from 1947, the year the ship was built.

Meanwhile, officer cadet Samantha Simpson, who studies at nautical college, has been on the Waverley scheme since May 2012, and is facing her final exams in March.

Further support has come from Merkland Tank Services of Govan which has contributed to the academy's running costs.

Kathleen O'Neill, chief executive of Waverley Excursions, said: "What I would like to see is more Scottish companies and colleges coming forward to support us.

"Not only do the young people involved benefit a great deal, but this ship, and others like her, won't be able to sail in a few years unless we have staff qualified to maintain and sail her."

Built on the Clyde in 1947, the Waverley was intended to sail only between Craigendorran and Arrochar in the west of Scotland.

Having been bought by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society in 1974 it now goes as far afield as the Bristol Channel during the summer months.

In the winter it undergoes refurbishment which is where the trainees step in.

Kirsty McIntyre, Merkland Tank Services' general manager, said: "I hope that many more companies will follow our lead."

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