Historic steam tug introduces students to ‘enormous opportunity’ of Merseyside’s maritime sector and decarbonisation

Maritime industry and academic leaders across Merseyside have applauded a unique partnership project which has introduced Merseyside students to the ‘enormous opportunity’ of decarbonisation in the maritime sector.

Led by the outreach team of Liverpool’s historic steam tug, The Daniel Adamson – aka The Danny – the ‘Maritime Heritage, Maritime Futures’ project brought together leading local maritime businesses and academics with local college and university students.

Delivered over the course of an academic year, ‘Maritime Heritage, Maritime Futures’ contrasted Merseyside’s rich maritime heritage with its exciting future opportunities.

The project was designed to complement the classroom curriculum for B-tech and foundation engineering students, introducing them to the challenges and opportunities of the maritime sector’s transition to Net Zero by 2050, and the scale of potential career pathways that exists on their doorstep.

The maritime sector is currently responsible for around 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but it is committed to legally binding emissions targets. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has set targets of a reduction in emissions by 40% by 2030, and of Net Zero emissions by 2050.

Using The Danny as their start point, and supported by the guidance of industry experts, the students mapped the evolution of vessel propulsion over the last 120 years – from when the coal-powered Danny first came into service – to the current day and beyond.

To support their learning, the students had privileged access to Svitzer’s low emissions vessel Trident, and a masterclass from the team who designed the RSS David Attenborough at Cammell Laird. They also got first-hand insights to how the industry is working to reduce emissions from engineers at Peel Ports, the Canal and River Trust, and Safeguard Engineering.

With a busy programme of shipyard and port visits, masterclasses, vessel visits, lectures, and engine room tours throughout the year, the Maritime Heritage, Maritime Futures project concluded with a dynamic showcase and careers event at Liverpool’s Maritime Museum on 6th June.

Engineering students from Hugh Baird College, Cronton and Riverside College, and Liverpool John Moores University presented pitches around decarbonisation and the future of vessel design. Business students presented awareness raising campaign proposals to engage young people with the history, ecology, and future job opportunities of Merseyside’s maritime sector. Expert industry panels gave the students feedback on the viability and potential for development of their ideas.

Ruth Wood, chief executive of Mersey Maritime, a partner organisation for the project, said: “There is no doubt that the maritime sector is at a turning point in terms of its transition to clean energy. The sector’s commitment to achieve Net Zero by 2050 is driving significant growth.

“Worth over £5bn a year, Liverpool City Region’s maritime economy represents an enormous opportunity to students who are exploring their career and academic options. I have no doubt that the Maritime Heritage Maritime Futures project will have laid the groundwork for many exciting and rewarding career pathways for the students who were lucky enough to take part.”

Dr Charuni Dissanayaka, STEM Technical Level Lead at Hugh Baird College, said: “The Maritime Heritage Maritime Futures project has been tremendously enriching for our students. The Danny’s remarkable history and innovative approach to delivering hands-on learning opportunities and high-level mentoring has introduced our students to all sorts of behind-the-scenes experiences, people, and insights they would never have had access to otherwise. The project has really engaged them in the challenges and opportunities around decarbonisation, and fired their enthusiasm and curiosity.”

Businesses who have supported Maritime Heritage Maritime Futures include Mersey Maritime, Peel Ports, Svitzer, Maersk, Cammell Laird, Safeguard Engineering, the Canal and River Trust, Liverpool John Moores University, National Museums Liverpool, Merseyside Adventure Sailing Trust (MAST), and Fleetwood Nautical College.

Cathriona Bourke, Learning and Participation Manager for The Danny said: “There is not the natural connection there used to be between young Merseysiders and maritime, and it is great to be part of reigniting this connection. Decarbonisation is vital for the future of today’s young people, and something they can be passionate about. The Danny’s team is really proud to be part of furnishing that vital link between the maritime past and future.

“Our ambition is to grow the Maritime Heritage Maritime Futures programme, involving young people in shaping the opportunities we offer, engaging more colleges and alternative learning centres, and more industry partners across the breadth of maritime and supply chain organisations.”

The Danny plans to run the Maritime Heritage Maritime Futures project in academic year 2024 – 2025, and colleges and business who would like to be involved can contact Cathriona.Bourke@danieladamson.co.uk for more details. The Maritime Heritage Maritime Futures is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

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