CAMMELL Laird is to add an additional 25 apprentices to its workforce later this year, giving them a chance to forge careers in shipbuilding.

In spite of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Birkenhead-based shipyard remains committed to growing its apprenticeship programme and is making five additional places available this year.

Over the last 12 years, the firm has recruited almost 300 apprentices across a broad range of roles. The new intake will start their apprenticeships in November.

More than 700 applications have been submitted for the 2020 programme, which will offer apprenticeships in welding, mechanics, pipefitting and plating.

Successful 2020 applicants will have the chance to work on a wide variety of ships and vessels, and to be part of unique, high-profile projects, gaining invaluable maritime experience.

Recent apprentice cohorts were involved in the RRS David Attenborough project, helping develop one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world.

During the four-year apprenticeship training programme, Laird's support its new team members to acquire high-level technical skills, strong problem-solving competencies and a flair for innovation.

The apprenticeships are delivered in conjunction with The Engineering College, the most successful and wide-ranging provider of engineering apprenticeships and related training in Merseyside.

David McGinley, chief executive of Cammell Laird Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Ltd and Atlantic & Peninsula Marine Services said: "We are determined to provide career opportunities to an increased number of people from the local area and our apprenticeship programme allows us to do this.

"Cammell Laird has both a rich history and an exciting future, and our apprentices play an essential role in helping to protect our heritage and forge our ongoing success.

"We are able to provide world-leading maritime experience on projects that you wouldn't find anywhere else and we are proud of this, along with our commitment to helping plug the engineering skills gap in the North West and supporting the local economy through job creation.

"We very much look forward to welcoming our 2020 apprentices onboard."