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Modern Apprenticeship in Maritime Occupations

Apprenticeships |

The port operations pathway within the Modern Apprenticeship in Maritime Occupations can be used to develop new entrants and to upskill or reskill the existing workforce.

The framework has five pathways, four of which involve work at sea; the fifth – port operations – is
shore-based. There is considerable overlap between the skills required, particularly between the four sea-going roles,
though each requires its own specialist knowledge and skills.

Typical job titles

Port operative, stevedore, container operative, cargo operative, port plant operator, roll-on/roll-off driver, port warehousing operative, passenger operative, ferry operative.

Occupational profile

Port operatives have key roles in enabling businesses to deliver on time and safely. Cargo can include any goods imported to, or exported from the UK, such as cars, food, manufactured goods and raw materials and the work they do depends on the type of ship or cargo. Operatives in larger ports tend to specialise, but smaller ports often require them to perform a wide range of duties.

A port operative may be required to work on board any type and size of moored or anchored vessel in a port. Port operatives typically work in teams under the direction of a supervisor and are an essential part of the core function of a port and maintaining a safe environment. Working hours may include unsocial hours and working outdoors in inclement weather in probably. There may be some on-call requirement. Shift and weekend work is likely.


The following must be achieved:

  • SVQ 2 in Port Operations at SCQF level 5
  • Core skills:
    • Communication Minimum SCQF level 4
    • Working With Others Minimum SCQF level 4
    • Problem Solving Minimum SCQF level 4
    • ICT Minimum SCQF level 4
    • Numeracy Minimum SCQF level 4


This is a SCQF level 5 Scottish apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

There are no specific entry requirements. Candidates must be working in a suitable role in order to gain the experience and knowledge required for the qualifications and in addition:

  • Be prepared to undertake off-the-job training.
  • Be able to acquire the broad range of skills, knowledge and understanding required in the Modern Apprenticeship.
  • Have a positive attitude towards learning.
  • Show initiative.

Typical duration

12-24 months.


The port operations pathway overlaps with other pathways within this apprenticeship enabling apprentices to progress within their own specialism or cross over to other parts of the wider maritime industry.


Funding varies depending on the age of the apprentice. A funding calculator is available in the links below.

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