New man takes the helm at South Shields Marine School

John Roach
John Roach

An internationally renowned maritime training centre is to carry on making waves globally after appointing a new man to the helm.

John Roach has been made Principal of South Shields Marine School, the UK’s oldest such facility, dating to 1861.

He replaces highly respected Gary Hindmarch, who has retired.

South Shields-born John’s promotion – he had been assistant principal, responsible for its international operations, since 2017 – has brought his career full circle.

As a teenager in 1976, he attended the then South Shields Marine and Technical College as part of a mechanical engineering apprenticeship.

Eight years later the technical college was renamed South Tyneside College, under which South Shields Marine School operated until last year.

John will now oversee a facility which employs around 65 staff and trains approximately 11,000 students a year.

John, who is married to wife Alison, said: “I have been part of the marine school and college’s Senior Management Team for over 12 years.

I am extremely proud to be appointed principal of South Shields Marine School.

“While working at the marine school, my greatest pleasure has been to see people of all ages arrive wide-eyed, often from overseas, and to return to the region time after time to progress through the ranks to become senior officers within the Merchant Navy.

“I am greatly looking forward to the challenges of my new role.”

Dr Lindsey Whiterod CBE, chief executive of Tyne Coast College, formed last year from a merger of South Tyneside College and Tyne Metropolitan College, in North Shields, said the future of the marine school was in safe hands.

She added: “John is a highly respected maritime education professional whose diverse range of skills and experience make him an asset to the marine school and to his colleagues.

“He has been a highly valued member of the marine school’s senior team for many years, helping steer it to the success it enjoys today.

Cadets who qualify from the marine school’s programmes work on a variety of vessels in the modern Merchant Navy.

These include container ships, cruise liners, ferries, oil and gas tankers, chemical carriers, bulk carriers, cable layers, car carriers and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels.

More information on South Shields Marine School, go to or call 0191 427 3500.