Fleetwood’s Nautical Campus has been described as a beacon of excellence by a leading MP.
Shadow Maritime Minister Gordon Mardsen, who is also the MP for Blackpool South, was full of praise for the facility after visiting the site.
Mr Marsden said he had noted the success and expansion of the campus, which is part of Blackpool and The Fylde College.
The minister was welcomed by campus head Neil Atkinson, and shown the full range of facilities at the recently-redeveloped £7.5m facility, talking to staff and trainers.
Mr Marsden saw hands-on simulated engine steering and navigational exercises being carried out by both UK and international students doing courses and qualifications.
Mr Marsden said: “The facilities here are fantastic and so is the range of provision – including off-shore training for wind farms and energy – and equipping students for careers on UK and international vessels.
“They are combining state-of-the-art 21st century digital systems and training with the traditional methods of seamanship and navigation.
“It’s no accident that the campus has won the top officer training awards six years out of seven in the UK.
“Their success here needs to be boosted and replicated countrywide with renewed and urgent Government support for training.
“Demand and capacity is expanding rapidly in shipping and maritime work worldwide, with a huge increase in world trade, oil production and containerisation.”
But the MP said the UK had a major skills gap which the college was taking advantage of.
He added: “I have got my shadow ministerial colleagues in the treasury and business departments to work with me on a series of regular meetings with the shipping industry, college reps, the unions and others to see how we put increased skills and training in the shipping sector.”