Pearl Seaways

Press Release


Date: 04 October 2018

DFDS hosted a special sailing across the Channel yesterday, as the ferry operator celebrated the latest cohort of apprentices to complete their apprenticeship schemes.

A 'passing out' ceremony took place on board Dunkerque Seaways, and was attended by family, friends and industry representatives.

Five apprentices qualified from the 2016 intake, with four qualifying as Able Seafarers under the Deck Scheme and one qualifying as a Marine Fitter under the Engine Scheme.

Gemma Griffin, Vice President of HR and Crewing at DFDS said: "We are so proud of all of our apprentices. They have worked hard both at college and during the on-board phases of the program. A career at sea brings wonderful opportunities and when I look at the quality of these apprentices and the other cohorts, I feel sure that the future of DFDS is in very safe and talented hands."

With an estimated 95% of imports coming to our island nation by ship*, the maritime industry plays a significant role in the country's economy. Yet figures show there has been a substantial decline in seafarers ratings since the 1980s**, and recruiting young people to join the industry has been particularly challenging.

DFDS launched its apprentice programme in 2012 and has now seen 20 apprentices pass through the scheme, with 17 deck apprentices and 3 engineering apprentices qualifying. The ferry company is now also offering a Catering Scheme – an industry first – which will see students work towards becoming Maritime Caterers. To further encourage young people in the South East of England to choose a career at sea, the ferry operator has also been working closely with East Kent College to offer students work experience on board.

The apprenticeships are offered in partnership with the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB), the shipping industry's central body for promoting and developing sector-specific education and training skills.

The scheme lasts between 18 and 24 months and are aimed at 17-24 year-olds with a minimum of Grade C Maths and English at GCSE level.

For further press information, please contact: Katie Raby / Elsa Findlay / Charlotte Wright / Rachel Sewell Rooster PR T : +44 (0)20 3440 8930 E :


DFDS Press Office 01304 874052

About DFDS:

DFDS is Northern Europe’s largest integrated shipping and logistics company, with a network of around 30 routes and 50 freight and passenger ships.

DFDS prides itself on offering world-class facilities and services and the widest choice of ferry routes into northern Europe.

In the UK, the company operates passenger ferry services on routes from Dover to Calais, Dover to Dunkirk, Newcastle to Amsterdam and Newhaven to Dieppe.

DFDS has been named ‘Europe’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for eight years running (2012-2019), as well as the ‘World’s Leading Ferry Operator’ for the last seven years (2011-18).

DFDS currently operates up to 54 sailings a day between Dover and France on its Dover-Dunkirk and Dover-Calais routes. DFDS also offers two daily sailings between Newcastle and Amsterdam. In addition, the DFDS network includes a passenger and freight service between Newhaven to Dieppe, which has four daily sailings and is operated by Transmanche Ferries.

For further information about DFDS, or to find out about the latest sailing times, fares and offers across all routes from the UK, click here.

WTA Winner 2022

Award Winning Ferry Crossings

We are proud to have been voted World’s Leading Ferry Operator 2022 at this year’s World Travel Awards for the 12th year in a row! We have also won Europe's Leading Ferry Operator 2012-2022 and World’s Best Ferry Operator Website 2021-2022.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us and voted for us for over 12 years. Let’s sail the seas together with world class service!