South Shields Marine School awarded the UK’s highest further and higher education honour

South Shields Marine School has been awarded the UK’s highest further and higher education honour for its ground-breaking innovation in advanced 3D modelling.

Some of the staff involved in winning The Queen's Award, from left,  Paul Hodgson, Alan Mercer, Alan Peden, Mel Irving, Jeremy Gough  and Karl Shackleton
Some of the staff involved in winning The Queen's Award, from left, Paul Hodgson, Alan Mercer, Alan Peden, Mel Irving, Jeremy Gough and Karl Shackleton

The school, now part of Tyne Coast College, has won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its expertise in creating high-tech digital scenarios that allow naval architects and civil engineers to design and safely implement multi-million-pound real-world projects.

Awarded by The Queen every two years, the award recognises outstanding work by colleges and universities.The marine school earned the award for a project supporting Tengizchevroil (TCO) – Kazakhstan’s state oil company – develop a port and waterway on the Caspian Sea to serve the major oilfield expansion.The marine school’s work in developing computer simulations also ensured Britain’s two new aircraft carriers could safely reach sea from their berth on the Firth of Forth in 2017.Its 3D modelling expertise makes the school unique in the UK.Principal John Roach said: “Over many years, the marine school’s reputation has grown and grown, and to receive the Queen’s Anniversary Prize is exceptional.“Our 3D modelling team is in a field of its own in the UK in the expertise it has developed over the past two decades, and its achievements should be celebrated.

“This award gives us the global recognition we deserve in another field entirely.”Dr Lindsey Whiterod CBE, chief executive of Tyne Coast College, said: “The North East, and indeed the whole country, should be immensely proud of this fine achievement.“The outstanding work the marine school does in all aspects of its work brings great prestige to this region and really puts it on the map in all four corners of the world.“It may well come as a surprise to people who know of its exceptional provision for the training of Merchant mariners to discover it also has world-leading expertise in another prestigious arena.“The 3D modelling team, and the marine school as a whole, are fully deserving of this wonderful award.”The marine school, which has supported the training of Merchant Navy mariners through sector leading programmes since 1861, took its first steps in to the fledgling field of 3D modelling in 1998.

The simulator showing the First of Forth