City of Glasgow College HNC Nautical Science student, Gregor Connor, has been named Officer Trainee of the Year 2020 by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Gregor’s achievement was formally recognised at the UK Chamber of Shipping Annual Dinner on Monday 7 February, following delays to the awards ceremonies in 2020 and 2021, due to Covid-19.

He was nominated by the College together with his sponsoring company, Ship Safe Training Group Ltd., and P&O Ferries, in recognition of his efforts. Having been away from full-time education for a number of years, Gregor started his cadetship with the minimum requirements. He went on to successfully complete the programme, passing all academic components on the first attempt and consistently achieving marks that put him top of his cohort.

The 29-year-old, from Maryhill in Glasgow, was inspired to join the maritime industry after seeing friends and family working at sea. Despite not having experience with either engines or ships, he learned everything he could about the industry, saying: “There’s a piece of advice I was given which has always stuck with me – ‘become passionate about it and it becomes easier to learn’.”

He was delighted to have been nominated for the award and grateful to everyone who supported him throughout his cadetship, adding: “It’s great to be recognised and rewarded for all the efforts and hard work I have put in throughout my cadetship. Winning the MCA Officer Trainee of the Year Award 2020 is not only a great personal achievement, but is also good for future employment as an indication of my work ethic.”

Paul Little, Principal and Chief Executive at City of Glasgow College, said: “This is an outstanding achievement for Gregor and a resounding endorsement of his hard work and determination. Our College is responsible for training almost half of the UK’s Merchant Navy Officers, and this accolade reflects highly on the quality of our excellent maritime courses, and the encouragement of our students by our specialist lecturers.”

Dhruva Kumar, Head of Curriculum for Marine Engineering Nautical Science at the College, added: “I am extremely proud of Gregor for being selected as Officer Trainee of the Year. It is truly well deserved. He is an industrious and committed student, who is absolutely passionate about his craft. I have no doubt that a long and successful career lies ahead of him.”

In the final phase of his cadetship Gregor overcame barriers created by the pandemic. He achieved the Faculty Recognition Award for Engineering, and was nominated for the IMarEST Lady Hamlyn Award for their exceptional graded unit project on dual fuel conversion.

Brian Johnson, Chief Executive of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, said it was an honour to present the award, adding: Gregor has shown incredible commitment and worked extremely hard and I’m proud that we’re able to recognise his dedication through this richly deserved award.”

Gregor’s award was collected on his behalf as he is currently at sea. He has been working with P&O Ferries as a fourth engineer since January 2021.