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On Tuesday 15th November, The Maritime Skills Academy (MSA) proudly welcomed HRH Princess Royal to view the newly opened Marine Survival Complex and Fire Training Ground.

On arrival HRH Princess Royal was welcomed by Dieter Jaenicke, Chairman & Founder and his wife, Jill Jaenicke as well as the local civic dignitaries of Dover. She was then guided to the top floor of Viking Headquarters to meet Senior Management including Matthew Jaenicke, Managing Director, Mark Jaenicke, Recruitment & HR Director and Stuart Jaenicke, Finance Director. She spoke candidly about the family business, its history and the vision. She then viewed the CGI video of the new complex and future plans. From the top floor outdoor terrace, Princess Anne was able to survey the Campus whilst Dieter explained the expansion of the centre, the onsite Fire Training Ground and 2nd phase which will be set over three floors and includes a Full Bridge simulator, Engine Room and High Voltage simulators and a specialised Medical Suite.

With questions being asked, HRH Princess Royal was keen to observe the training on the Fire Ground and Tim Holness, Training & Facilities Manager, was happy to assist with demonstrations and answer any questions she had. The conversation was then moved to the innovative state-of-the-art Marine Survival Complex where HRH was able to watch staff members taking part in a sea survival exercise. She was joined by Paul Russell, Senior Marine Training Consultant, who explained what was being demonstrated as well as talking about the extensive portfolio of MCA accredited STCW courses. Princess Anne dropped into an Updating Advance Fire Fighting theory course which was taking place that day and had a small Q&A with Captains and Engineers on the course.

Princess Anne has ample maritime connections. She is the patron of the Royal Yachting Association and also the Master of Trinity House. Three Plymouth University students who are currently being sponsored by Trinity House were lucky enough to meet her as they were attending a Medical course at the MSA. Chiltern Maritime, part of the Viking Family of Companies administers Officer Trainee Cadets on behalf of Trinity House.

The Maritime Skills Academy is in partnership with Dover Sea Sports Centre to bring local youths ‘Plain Sailing’. The programme allows teens to come to the Academy and take part in Basic Fire Awareness Course and First Aid at Work Course as well as employment and interview advice with General Manager, Paul Rutterford. On her tour of the facilities Princess Anne met with Stuart Bishop, who runs the programme and four students who are currently in attendance.

Nearing the end of her visit, HRH Princess Royal was greeted in the reception area by all Jaenicke family members, wives and children included, where she unveiled the plaque and was presented with posies from three of the Jaenicke grandchildren. On exiting the building, HRH took the time to speak to all staff members, who were situated outside the new building, to find out more about their roles within the company and how they felt about the new accomplishment of the MSA.

Overall the visit was truly a memorable day for each and every staff member of Viking Recruitment and The Maritime Skills Academy.

Stuart Jaenicke, Finance Director, commented on the day, “The visit was very positive and couldn’t have gone any better than hoped. It was delightful to see HRH Princess Royal take the time to understand what we do as a business as well as our family history and to speak to staff members individually. We, as a family and company, are honoured to have the Royal seal of approval.”

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