Having opened its doors in June 2016 in Palma, the Stewardess Training Academy (STA) has been training new and existing stews with the aim of becoming professional and well-rounded interior crewmembers for the past year. Since the academy’s conception, STA’s trainers Jess Barnard and Erin Bloom have witnessed the growing importance that the superyacht industry places on training the interior departments.
“When we started the academy, we thought that we would mainly be working with green stews, but to our surprise we have been training a lot of stews with a few years’ experience in the industry,” says Bloom. “It can be hard for stews that already have experience to admit they need training, but some boats don’t have the time to conduct formal training on board, so it makes sense that they want to do certified courses.”
STA’s interior introduction course is designed to cover all aspects of the role of a stew on board a yacht and, for Bloom, is an important confidence booster for crew at the lower levels. She adds that the course tends to attract career-minded students that want to invest in their future, which has piqued the interest of captains, management companies and recruitment agents.
“Interior training is gradually gaining more and more recognition as the industry gets more professional and competitive all the time,” explains Bloom. “I think this comes down to the realisation that a few years of experience doesn’t necessarily mean can step straight up to a chief stew position as you need the leadership training as well, in addition to a frustration with the lack of training on the interior side.”
As well as the introduction course, STA offers a silver service course in house and will be setting up a barista course soon. These take place at its training facility in Alaro: a three-storey luxury villa that the pair discovered after looking for an appropriate setting to conduct the high-standard training. The academy also offers floristry and Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) courses through its partners. Bespoke training on board is another popular offering as “not every boat wants silver service”.
While STA’s courses are currently modelled on the GUEST syllabus, the academy is not accredited just yet, but this is something that is on the agenda for the future as the team firmly believe in the PYA programme. “GUEST creates a standard and empowers people,” concludes Bloom. “I think it will change the industry a lot as it will help separate the crew that are just in the industry for fun from those that are in it for the long term.”
With very few options for interior crew training in Mallorca currently available, STA is well placed to offer such services to a department that is being viewed more and more professionally.
Image: Jess Barnard and Erin Bloom of the Stewardess Training Academy. Credit: The Islander