World-renowned sailor and UKSA ambassador, Dee Caffari MBE, officially launched the charity's ‘Women into Sailing’ careers initiative at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week.
The careers programme intends to promote and help young women to work professionally within the marine sector. The initiative will include bursaries to support the funding of professional sailing courses for women, campaigns to encourage participation in sailing by women, plus sailing taster sessions for groups of girls with the moniker: ‘this girl can sail’.
Ben Willows, CEO of UKSA, believes that this initiative is of significant importance to the superyacht industry, which is often viewed as a male-dominated industry. “As a key training provider we see female students coming onto our courses but the ratio of females to males is still low,” he explains.
“There are so many roles out there in the superyacht industry for women and our aim is to make that known to those training with us. At UKSA we can assist students in securing their first position on board thanks to our dedicated industry guidance team and the support of leading crew agents.”
Caffari, a UKSA graduate and former P.E. teacher, started her training at UKSA's centre in Cowes with a watersports instructor training course. This led her on to the pro-crew and skipper training course (now equivalent to the professional Yachtmaster qualification).
She became the first woman to sail solo around the world the wrong way, non-stop in 2006. Following her circumnavigation in 2006, her sixth place finish in the Vendée Globe in 2009 made her the first woman to sail solo and non-stop in both directions around the Globe.
"As a graduate of UKSA, not only is it a real pleasure to be an UKSA ambassador, but it is an honour to be officially launching their Women into Sailing careers programme,” commented Caffari. “I am passionate about helping to advance women in the world of sailing and with this campaign, we can give many females the opportunity to join this fantastic industry."