Barrus helps to bridge skills gap with support of new Maritime Engineer course

Published on: 28/08/2019


For the first time in the marine industry, a new Maritime Engineer Technician course has been launched in the South East of the UK. Barrus is proud to be supporting this huge step forward in the industry and helping to train marine engineers of the future with the donation of engines and spare parts. 

Following several employers on the Thames voicing concerns to Thames Skills Academy (TSA) that marine engineering courses were only available in Southampton, the Isle of Wight and Hull, the TSA approached South Essex College to build a dedicated course in the South East of the UK. 

The employer cohort were crying out for a course that would keep vessels running 24/7 and focus on the engineering of the engine and systems rather than boat building. This course is the first of its kind in the South East and Simon Lofting, Marine Engineering Lecturer, was approached with the specific task of building the right course to suit employers and apprentices alike. 


Following 20 years serving afloat on police boats and teaching, Simon has returned to the industry to give back to the younger generation and commented: 

“This new course opens the doors to deliver bespoke training to the marine engineering industry and will see a new, younger generation of marine engineers filling existing gaps in the trade. Marine engineers are becoming very sought after and the industry has been given the chance to build on that expertise once again.”

The College is in a prime position to offer the course, with Essex boasting 360 miles of coastline and 95 marinas, bringing the much-needed training to apprentices’ doorsteps. 

The course has been designed for students to leave the college with well-rounded understanding and practical experience of mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and welding, and specialist skills technicians and lecturers have been brought in to cover non-marine specific areas.


Barrus has donated inboard and outboard engines and spare parts to South Essex College to support this new course and help train the marine engineers of the future. A number of employers on the Thames are Barrus customers which gives the satisfaction that their apprentices will be familiar with the engines they will be faced with in a working environment. 

Barrus also prides itself on offering a comprehensive range of courses for engineers and technicians which are available to all dealers and specialist partners. The company headquarters in Bicester features a purpose-built Training School which is used to facilitate the majority of training courses, supported by regional courses throughout the UK and Ireland. 

With technology improvements being introduced more frequently and the level of electronics involved in engine management increasing rapidly, Barrus training courses are essential to ensure the highest levels of support. Simon will be completing the Up to 60hp Diagnostic Training Week held at Barrus later this year which will enable him to pass on his knowledge in areas less familiar. 


Tim Bennett, Service Manager, recognised the importance of Simon’s request for equipment and training, and commented: 

“Barrus has always been committed to assisting colleges with further education and a big part of this is making sure that lecturers are familiar with the latest technologies.”

“Having worked in the marine police for 20 years, I have known and dealt with Barrus for a long time,” commented Simon. 

“Barrus, and in particular, Tim Bennett, have been fantastic in assisting me set this course up from nothing. So many similar courses teach by video demonstration which does not allow the hands-on approach that Barrus has kindly helped me with. Being able to use items that would otherwise have been scrapped allows me to teach the course how I should.” 

The Maritime Engineer Technician Course was launched at South Essex College in September 2018 and the current apprentices have now completed the first of four years. For more information, visit


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