A deck officer who discovered a “love for the sea” as a young teenager has been given the 2023 Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Officer Trainee of the Year award.
Katie Jayne McGahan Hargreaves was chosen for her willingness to go above and beyond in promoting the maritime industry as an enthusiastic and dedicated ambassador.
She was just 13 years old when she found her passion for the water, almost by accident, having taken up an invite to join her brothers in the Sea Cadets during the school holidays.
Katie signed up to a sailing course within weeks and her new lifelong ambition saw her go on to qualify as an officer several years later. She is now third officer for Cemex Marine Aggregates.
The award was presented at the UK Chamber of Shipping’s annual gala dinner on Monday 5 February at the JW Marriott Hotel, London.
Katie was nominated by her nautical college Fleetwood Nautical Campus in Blackpool, Fylde College, and training management companies Chiltern Maritime and MEF (Maritime Educational Foundation).
The judging panel made note of her pride at representing her class in various important maritime events as well as her commitment to achieving academic excellence. She was noted as a role model for the class and as a strong example to future students of how to positively contribute.
The judges were unanimous in agreeing she is extremely hardworking, supportive and will make an excellent officer.
Katie said: “I had no idea I had even been put forward for the award, so I had no expectations of winning it. Being the recipient is an indescribable feeling though, and it counts as a key milestone in my sea-going career.
“It is an honour to receive such a prestigious award. I am very grateful and thankful that I was put forward for it and that my commitment, time, perseverance, and efforts throughout my Cadetship have not gone unnoticed.”
“I want to say a big thank you to the lecturers at my college as well as those at my training company but, in particular, my mentor, Captain Ann, and my biggest supporter, my mum Catherine. I would not be here today without all the support, wisdom and belief from everyone, so thank you for helping me achieve my dream career.”
Virginia McVea, MCA chief executive who presented the award on the night, said: “Katie’s hard work, strong academic performance and willingness to promote the industry was behind this expert panel of industry judges choosing her as the 2023 winner. It was a privilege to meet Katie and present her with such a well-deserved award that I hope encourages our cadets to strive for excellence.
“It demonstrates the quality we have coming through our academies and the abundance of talent we have training for the future.”
Maritime Minister Lord Davies said: “Congratulations to Katie, who truly embodies the spirit of maritime – her strong work ethic and early passion have moulded her into a dedicated and outstanding officer.
“It is great to see the MCA celebrating outstanding individuals like Katie. This achievement not only reflects her hard work and commitment but also serves as a testament to the high standards upheld by the MCA.”