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Sacked workers stay on to help

Thirty apprentices left high and dry by the closure of a shipyard have been thrown a lifeline to enable them to finish training.

Workers who lost their jobs have volunteered to return to teach the trainees for free More than 500 workers were made redundant when Appledore shipyard in north Devon closed. Receivers moved in on October 1 and the yard is now up for sale.

Gary Cook, the secretary of the joint shop stewards' committee at the yard, said all the stops are being pulled out to ensure the apprentices are not abandoned.

He said: The workers are giving up their time to help with the training, even though they have been given a good shafting by the company. They have been offered no redundancy package and no holiday pay.

"But even faced with all that, they cannot stand by and see the apprentices left stranded. We were all apprentices at one time. No apprentices, no future."

He said there were 36 apprentices training in technical design, shipwright fabrication, plumbing and marine fitting. Six, who were nearing the end of the course as the yard's closure approached, completed their training ahead of schedule. The remaining 30 are at various stages of a four-year apprenticeship programme.

The yard's training provider is continuing to pay classroom instructors, while the redundant workers are assisting with practical skills.

Mr Cook said: "The only asset this place has now got is the workforce. We hope a new employer will see its value."

North Devon college is involved in on-site training for the redundant workers, particularly in computer skills.

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