Sixteen modern apprentices (MA) will soon be welcomed aboard CalMac ferries after successfully completing their training.

The deck, engine and maritime hospitality apprentices will now all take up full time positions with the company.

They include five modern apprentices from Lewis and Harris (all pictured). Shaun Riddell and Jumbo Stewart from Lewis are engineers, Connor Macdonald from Lewis and Daniel Macleod from Scalpay will be working on deck, and Leanne Macaulay from Harris will be in the retail area.

CalMac works with City of Glasgow College to deliver industry-tailored apprenticeships, where classroom training is combined with practical on-board experience.

The 100th MA was recruited this year and the company's commitment to training the next generation of seafarers has seen the number of apprentices more than double since 2016.

Certificates were presented by Mark Stagg (pictured right), dean of the nautical science and STEM faculty at City of Glasgow College and CalMac's director of operations, Robert Morrison (left).

Robert said: “Our training programmes are an important source of skilled labour for us. Having a pipeline of recruits ensures we are able to continue to seamlessly deliver a consistently high standard of service for customers.

“These qualifications are an excellent foundation for starting a life at sea, whatever direction their career takes them. It also gives us the opportunity to provide well paid, high value jobs that help support the often fragile economies of the communities we support.”

CalMac is the UK’s largest ferry operator, operating a fleet of 33 vessels across a network of 49 routes serving island and remote mainland communities. Last year they carried more than 5.6 million passengers and around 1.4 million vehicles.

The Merchant Navy training board recently named CalMac as one of the top five UK companies for maritime apprenticeships.