Students proudly accepted awards for their academic achievements at the NAFC Marine Centre UHI’s 21st annual prize giving today (17 February 2012).

NAFC Marine Centre UHI Director Professor David Gray welcomed the guests and commented on the day’s phenomenal turnout.

Professor David Gray began by saying: “I’m delighted to see so many people here today to share in the success and achievements of our students.  The NAFC Marine Centre UHI has an international reputation for producing first class students and that reputation comes from the industry itself, which clearly demonstrates just how good our training is.”

One of the guests invited to the ceremony to present awards was Captain Gordon Walterson who has been involved in fisheries training in Shetland since 1981.  He was also one of the pioneers who had the vision to establish the Centre and was part of the steering group set up to drive it forward.

Mr Walterson continues to watch with close interest how well the Centre and its students are performing and today presented two prizes.

The first was awarded to Steve Pottinger from Whalsay, who won the Sea Fishing Level 2 Deckhand Prize for showing a good all-round ability and producing his logbook to a very high standard.  Steve’s award was accepted by his brother Joe who is in his second year of a deck cadetship at NAFC.

The second award went to Joe Huntly, also from Whalsay, who won the Forbes Watt Prize for Navigation as the student who showed application and attention to detail while studying for a professional Certificate of Competence.  Joe is sponsored by Shetland Islands Council (SIC) – Ferries.

The Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) prizes for second year cadets who showed excellence in all areas of study were presented by its Chief Executive, Roger Lockwood. He said: “The students are the reason I am here today and I am delighted to be able to present these prizes myself.  I am particularly glad because what we do at the NLB is inextricably linked with what the students are doing at sea.  We provide a service to these students in terms of safety and navigation.  As well as using traditional and e-navigation, I would also ask all of you to remember a third method – L navigation – look out the window.”

The NLB (Deck Cadet) prize was awarded to Ryan Trumpess from Orkney and accepted by NAFC Marine Centre’s Caroline Hepburn.  Ryan is sponsored by Norbulk Shipping UK Ltd through Clyde Marine Training and is currently at sea.

The NLB (Engineer Cadet) prize was won by Jerry Gibson, who is originally from Rousay in Orkney.  Jerry is sponsored by NorthLink Ferries Ltd through Clyde Marine Training.  Commenting on her award, she said: “I’m absolutely delighted to win.  It’s great that all my hard work has been recognised.  I plan to spend my prize money on study material to help me through my oral exams.”

James Fraser, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) presented the next three awards.  The NAFC Marine Centre UHI is a proud and founding partner of the newest university in the UK.

Before presenting the prizes, he said: “I want to highlight just how important Shetland has been to the development of UHI and how it still is.  The NAFC Marine Centre UHI is a trailblazer in showing how you can use knowledge, research, training and education for the benefit of the whole community and help it to grow and develop.”

Mr Fraser presented the Nautical Institute Prize for a first year deck cadet who showed excellent endeavour and achievement to Colin Hodder from Elgin, who is sponsored by Gulf Offshore N.S Ltd through Clyde Marine Training.

The Bells Nautical Prize for a third year deck cadet who showed energy, enthusiasm and commitment throughout their programme went to Calum Fraser from Reawick.  Calum commented: “It’s great when you put in so much effort and are rewarded for your hard work.  I’m planning to sit my chief mate’s exam in a few years’ time so my prize money will go towards that and help me progress in my career.”  Calum was sponsored by Anglo Eastern/DOF and continues to work with them.

Liam Cumming from Burra scooped the Clyde Marine Deck Prize for the best overall third year Clyde Marine deck cadet.  His prize was accepted on his behalf by his mother

Duncan Kidson, NAFC’s Head of Section – Engineering, presented the next three prizes.

For the third year engineer cadet who showed outstanding effort and achievement, he presented the Northstar Shipping Prize to Callum Pottinger who worked for SIC – Ferries until a few weeks ago when he moved to Northstar Shipping.

The Clyde Marine Engineer Prize for the best overall third year Clyde Marine deck cadet went to Derek Spence from Unst.  Derek was sponsored by K-Line Bulk Shipping UK Ltd through Clyde Marine Training but now works as a marine engineer in Lerwick.

The NAFC Marine Centre Modern Apprentice of the Year award for the engineering apprentice who showed the most effort and ability in producing a high standard portfolio went to Ben Hughson of South Whiteness.  Ben is sponsored by Scottish and Southern Energy.

James Fraser was then invited back to the podium to present a very special prize; a medal inaugurated to acknowledge staff of UHI that have been recommended by a principal of an academic partner for giving extraordinary and distinguished service.  The medal was awarded to the late Jim Thomas and was accepted by his wife Maddie.  The UHI Vice Chancellor’s Medal will be a tangible reminder of the esteem in which he was held by his colleagues and the students he taught.

Duncan Kidson announced the final prize of the day, the Jim Thomas Memorial Prize, which was presented by Jim’s son Peter.  This was also a new award in memory of Jim who put in so much effort into students interested in learning.  Duncan added: “I would like to think that Jim inspired our winner here – Abigail Barlow from Wester Skeld.  I know he had a lot of respect for her and would be so proud that she is now doing further study in Aberdeen.”

Abigail said: “I’m absolutely over the moon.  It’s such an honour to be awarded this in its first year.  The money will help me as I continue my studies in Aberdeen.”

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