One of the best-known passenger boat firms on the Thames has launched a major recruitment drive because of a crew shortage on the river.

Windsor-based French Brothers are aiming to recruit for a range of jobs from boat skippers to catering staff.

As part of their recruitment campaign the company, which operates tourist and charter trips, will visit school events to convince students the marine industry is a worthwhile career path.

Director Chris French said: “We are keen to recruit new people into the industry and also seek out people with parallel experience. For example people who can helm boats but haven’t quite got the right licences or local knowledge and we can offer them the right training to bring them up to speed.

“We are looking for people who are starting their career. I’d like to think we are instrumental in breaking down the perception that it is not a proper career. With new regulations, new legislation,  new training courses there is now a more structured career path into the marine industry.

“One of our new policies is also looking at people who are already interested in boats as a first port of call. We are after already-qualified skippers,  skippers with experience perhaps of other waterways but not necessarily the Thames. We are open-minded about people’s skills, age and availability. We are adaptable and we have number semi-retired people working with us.

“One example: there are quite a number of people used to handling Dutch barges which in many ways needs similar skills to handling a big passenger boat. Their skills are adaptable and convertible."

The company, which has a fleet 15 boats including two steamers Nuneham and Streatley, operates in both winter and summer. It says depending on individuals and their jobs there are opportunities for year-round employment.

Contact: Operations Manager  01753 827397 OR

Story dated Feb 29th 2016