“We’ve had a huge amount of feedback this year about not having very well qualified people coming into the industry. There are a lot of people looking for work but few with qualifications or experience, and this seems to be a big problem for captains at the moment, when they’re trying to find crew,” Joey Meen, director of training and certification at the PYA, tells The Crew Report.
The PYA’s focus is to start what Meen calls “ a home-grown campaign”, whereby the concept of yachting as a career is introduced to people at a young age, so they can get the relevant qualifications and start in the industry with the relevant experience. The PYA is already in discussion with a number of land-based hospitality schools to support the initiative, and the Ecole Hôtelière in Cannes is in the process of being accredited to run the PYA’s Guidelines for Unified Excellence in Service Training (GUEST). “The Ecole Hôtelière will be incorporating GUEST into their hospitality training. They’re running it as a six-month course and are looking at placing some of their interior students on board yachts for work experience during this period, for chunks of two or three weeks, if the boats will have them.”
"There are a lot of people looking for work but few with qualifications or experience, and this seems to be a big problem for captains at the moment."
While the initiative is there on land, it has to be met with mutual support from its sea-based counterparts. The PYA is in the process of putting together a short survey to send out to superyacht captains, to see if they would be willing to take work experience crew on board during off-season.
This is a somewhat interior-focused equivalent of the cadetship programme run by the ItalianYachtMasters, under the leadership of Captain Carlo Summonti, M/Y Nataly, and Captain Luca Triggiani, M/Y Engelberg. The ItalianYachtMasters, in conjunction with teh PYA, are pushing to take their cadetships further, however. “We would like to find as much availability on yachts to bring these young people on board,” Captain David Piardi, member of the ItalianYachtMasters, tells The Crew Report. “What is important is that we start having them on board for the first time in Autumn when the season starts cooling down, for more time during the winter to get them familiar with the yacht and then do a proper stage of work experience when the season is about to start, when you’d need dayworkers. By this time we will really be able to count on them because they will have trained with the boat before. This is the idea of the project.”
Another tier to this initiative is getting shore-based professionals on board for short periods to understand the workings of yacht, and vice versa – something that is being headed up by the ItalianYachtMasters. “The directors of the ports of Monaco and the French and Italian Rivieras thought it was a good idea to have some of their employees to see what it’s like on board and for some crewmembers to go into the ports to get to know each other’s workings,” says Captain Piardi.
Dipping one’s toes in the waters of the superyacht industry – whether on board superyachts or in the ports – is also something open to all sectors of the maritime industry. MYBA The Worldwide Yachting Association, who is supporting this initiative, has declared that with younger brokers entering yachting, with little on-board experience, this would be beneficial. Moreover, the ItalianYachtMasters is trying to get nautical schools close to the three ports involved in this initiative.
This is an initiative that The Crew Report wholly supports, and we would encourage captains to take the survey sent out by the PYA and MYBA, in a bid to improve our industry’s employment opportunities for the future. Take the survey here.