UK-based maritime industry body Mersey Maritime and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) have launched a new maritime graduate programme.

UK Shipping Minister John Hayes launched the programme as part of £5m investment in maritime skills.

Launched as part of a three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Mersey Maritime and LJMU last year, the new programme will provide sponsorship placement opportunities to ten maritime companies operating in Merseyside, a metropolitan county in north-west England.

In a separate development, Hayes has opened a maritime bridge and engine simulator training facility in the Byrom Street Campus of LJMU.

"By bringing together academics and industry through this programme, we’ll be able to successfully train-up the next-generation of mariners."

The simulator will allow students, marine pilots, ship masters and senior navigating officers to develop and hone their skills.

Hayes said: “It is by bringing together academics and industry through this programme, and using cutting-edge simulation technology, that we’ll be able to successfully train up the next-generation of mariners, and ensure the UK’s maritime industry remains world-leading for many years to come.”

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Later this month, delegations from Panama’s Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá (UTP) are expected to visit LJMU to discuss opportunities in international research and teaching partnership across maritime programmes.

Seven Panama organisations will participate in the maritime collaboration programmes.

Furthermore, Mersey Maritime will organise an Export Club on 26 October for 50 of its members to explore trading opportunities between Liverpool-based maritime businesses and their counterparts in Panama.