MCG Covid-19 Redundancy and retraining bursary

Are you a UK seafarer who has recently been made redundant or are unable to obtain a new contract because of COVID-19? Do you need to retrain in order to regain employment within the maritime industry?

The Maritime Charities Group (MCG) representing 10 major seafaring charities, recognises the significant damage the COVID-19 pandemic has caused to the UK economy affecting British merchant seafarers and is addressing this by launching this targeted fund. Trinity House and The Merchant Navy Welfare Board both of which are MCG members have stepped up to provide the bulk of the bursary funding, with a further contribution from the Nautilus Slater Fund.

The MCG Covid-19 Redundancy and Retraining Bursary Fund is closing!

The deadline to submit an application will be on 16th September at 17.00 hours with all applications being assessed and closed by 30th September 2022. Any applications submitted beyond 16th September will not be accepted.

Marine Society will administer funds on behalf of MCG, to help unemployed UK seafarers affected by redundancy or cancellation of a contract to retrain or upskill. Each bursary is limited to a maximum £500 per application.

The bursary is aimed at UK Merchant Navy seafarers of all ranks and departments who can demonstrate a planned route back into a maritime-related role, whether seagoing or shore-side. Applicants can self-select whatever training and/or qualifications they feel will help them to achieve this. This can include generic skills such as interview preparation or CV writing tailored to a maritime industry. Courses can include MCA-approved and STCW refresher qualifications, maritime-related professional diplomas or ICS qualifications.


Support from the Marine Society

Successful applicants will also be granted free access to two courses of their choice from the range of 15 courses on the Marine Society Learn@Sea platform. These courses can help seafarers to refresh or upskill their knowledge in a range of subjects including Maths, Writing, Stability and Navigation to name just a few. To see the full list of courses please click here. Please let us know what courses you would like access to when submitting your application.

Seafarers who plan to transition to a shore-side role can use their bursary to access our Coming Ashore programme here that provides industry mentoring and access to learning resources at discounted rates.

We also encourage seafarers to consider retraining as teaching professionals in order to support post-16 providers deliver a maritime curriculum to the next generation.

How to apply

Please complete the application form and return it by email with your supporting evidence to the Marine Society. You will be notified of the outcome within 10 working days of receipt of your application. Deadline to submit an application is 16th September 2022. Applications will be considered on a first come first served basis until funds are exhausted.

You can download the application form here and return it to us via email to or post to: Marine Society, 200B Lambeth Road, London SE1 7JW. 

Please include a narrative about your most recent role and future plans, a CV and documentary evidence of your recent or expected redundancy or last contract for those on short-term contracts. If you do not have this evidence we will still consider your application but will need to discuss it with you.


Applicants must be British seafarers, resident in the UK, 18 years old and over, who have been made redundant or notified of redundancy since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. This includes those on short term contracts who have had a contract terminated.

If you have any queries please contact Carla Rockson, Head of Seafarer Learning and Welfare at or call 020 7654 7029.

Frequently asked questions

    • You will need to submit a copy of your CV, proof of identity (e.g. passport) and documentary evidence of your redundancy or date of last contract. 

      If you don't have evidence of your redundancy or lost contract we will ask you for an alternative. 

    • You must apply by completing the application form which is available to download from You should submit your application together with supporting evidence via email to the address provided on the application form.

    • The Fund will support any training you can demonstrate is necessary to fill a skills gap or a qualification you need to get a job within the maritime industry at sea or ashore. For example, you may need to brush up on your interview or IT skills. If your STCW refresher qualifications are due to expire in less than 12 months or you need to do a specialised maritime course to have the best chance of getting a job, we can help. The fund will also cover the cost of personality profiling or psychometric tests such as Facet5 used by Spinnaker Global HR (note – we have a limited number of Spotlight profiling tests available at £100 each)

    • No. The bursary does not cover course fees or related expenses retrospectively. Whilst we recognise that it may be difficult to fund your own training at this time, this limited amount of funding has only now been made available to support the large number of seafarers that are being made redundant

    • You can start as soon as you find a course available. We would expect you start your training sooner rather than later to give yourself the best chance of applying for jobs with your new skill or qualification. 

    • Yes. Our Learn@sea digital platform offers a wide range of upskilling courses from Maths@sea or Writing@sea to improve your core skills to Leadership@sea and Management@sea where you can develop or improve your management level skills. There are 15 courses to choose from which you can do online at your own pace. We also have a dedicated support and mentoring programme for those intending to move ashore. Please contact us for more details.

    • Before you submit your application we will expect you to have given careful consideration to the training you want to undertake and have done some research. You will need to provide details of the course name, where offered (this maybe on line), the date, the duration and the cost. If you also need assistance with expenses to attend the course please give details in the box provided on the form. This will also be assessed within the £500 bursary limit. If you are unsure about the training you need to do please contact us in the first instance.

    • We will provide you with a grant confirmation letter and acceptance letter for you to sign and supply your bank account details. You are responsible for booking the course yourself. We will reimburse you on production of a full receipt. If you are unable to pay the course fees yourself, you may ask the course provider to invoice us directly.

    • UK Merchant Navy seafarers, aged 18 years or older and resident in the UK. You must have been made redundant or at risk of redundancy as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those on short term contracts who have had future contracts cancelled or none offered may also be eligible. The fund is open to all ranks.

    • Yes. Marine Society has lots of experience of providing information, advice and guidance on matters relating education, training and career progression, in fact, we have the Matrix Quality Standard for our services to seafarers. If you need guidance on what course to do or where it is available, we can help. We also work with partner providers to offer some higher level academic and professional qualifications via distance learning.

    • No. However we expect that you will have asked your employer what training support is available as part of your redundancy package e.g. outplacement and/or researched what other sources of funding may be available. This new bursary is a small amount funding that has been made available to help seafarers who have no other sources of funding available to help them retrain and better their chances of re-employment.

    • If your employer is providing you with outplacement support as part of a settlement agreement you should not apply for this bursary. However, if this support falls short of what you need, i.e. not supporting a specific course you need to take, you can apply for funding. You will need to supply full details of what your outplacement support has offered you and what you want. You application will be assessed, however, it may be unsuccessful if it is decided that your outplacement support is reasonable. Please remember that this bursary is for those who have no other means of training support.

    • We will acknowledge receipt of your application and aim to notify applicants of the outcome within 10 working days.

    • Yes. If you are not happy with the outcome of your application you can appeal the decision. You will be notified why your application has not been successful. If you think that you have more information that would better support your application you can resubmit it for further consideration. If your application is unsuccessful again, you can appeal the rejection in writing to the Chairman of the Maritime Charities Group at, whose decision will be final.

    • Yes. You can talk to the Seafarer Learning & Welfare Coordinator on 020 7654 7058 or the Head of Seafarer Learning and Welfare on 020 7654 7029.

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