Overseas cadets studying at world-renowned South Shields Marine School are making waves by netting new roles alongside their studies.
They have thrown themselves in at the deep end to support high-flying South Shields Football Club - by volunteering as match day stewards.
The group say they want to play their part in local community life during their three years of studies and ahead of embarking on full-time careers at sea.
And for their efforts, they received a VIP welcome – a meeting with Geoff Thompson, owner of the Northern Premier League Premier Division club.
That introduction took place during South Shields’ home game against Gainsborough Trinity, which the Mariners won 3-1.
Cadet Jumbo Donaldson, 38, from Nigeria, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for us to get to see good quality local football for free whilst volunteering our time in the local community.
“We have taken steps to ensure that our volunteering work here will not affect our studies.
“We’re very much looking forward to involving ourselves more with our local football club.”
South Shields FC director of business development and partnerships Jamie Williams said: “As a non-league football club we depend heavily on the contribution of local volunteers.
“To have a number of marine students offering their support is a big step forward for us.
“They will help us on the next stage of our journey as we look to grow attendances and improve the matchday experience.
“The students will form part of our stewarding team, which is an essential service that ensures the safety and enjoyment of all supporters.
“We’d like to thank Phil Coxill, one of our current volunteers, who initiated this link-up.
“Phil is an excellent member of our volunteer workforce, focussing on safety and security at the ground.
“The fact that he took it upon himself to identify, inspire and invite a team of new volunteers into the club is testament to him and a sign of what the club means to him as a supporter.”
The students are currently being given expert safety training for work at the club’s expanding 1st Cloud Arena stadium.
It will allow them to play an important part in home fixtures, which regularly attract over 2,000 supporters.
They are expected to game-ready for the opening of the club’s new 900-seater CEFO Group stand, which is expected to welcome fans on Saturday, December 11.
During their time in South Shields the cadets are staying at the marine school’s highly-rated Dr Winterbottom Halls of Residence.