The Professional Yachting Association (PYA) has been the force behind raising the training standards for interior crew with its Guidelines for Unified Excellence in Service Training (GUEST). Catching up at December’s Antigua Charter Yacht Show, we spoke to PYA’s director of training and certification, Joey Meen, for an update on how the programme is being received by the industry so far. 

The GUEST programme at The Crew Academy

“GUEST is doing really well,” Meen explains. “There must be nearly 3000 people coming through the programme already, and it’s only the first year and a half. From my perspective it has been well received by the boats.”

Meen does, however, admit that the concept is still coming under scrutiny. “We still get a lot of current stews and stewardesses that don’t want to do it because they don’t understand it and think they know everything already,” she adds. “It is difficult to get through to them that they probably can’t walk on water like they think they can and there are probably a few little bits of information that would perhaps be useful for their futures. But I guess that is a generation thing and I think over the next few years we will start seeing changing attitudes and it will become the norm.”

Part of the PYA’s strategy to make GUEST more widely accepted is to target other sectors of the industry. “It can only ever become an industry standard if the industry starts wanting it,” comments Meen. “This is where we, as the PYA, feel that it is the charter brokers that are actually the frontline of this because if the charter brokers don’t ask for it, don’t look for it or don’t recognise the value of it, then it won’t have as big an impact."

  MYBA's Fiona Maureso (left) and PYA's Joey Meen (right) at the Antigua Charter Yacht Show

Meen admits that the PYA has some work to do on that front, hence the thinking behind the PYA’s growing relationship with the Worldwide Yachting Association (MYBA) and the initiative of the GUEST awareness day, which has been used as an opportunity to explain what the programme is and to educate brokers to ask crew if they have done a GUEST course or if they would consider it. “But that is something that will all develop over the next few years, I am looking at it as a five-year plan,” Meen concludes.

Read Issue 70 of The Crew Report for an account from a stewardess who has had firsthand experience of GUEST - click here to download. Also look out for our feature on the PYA GUEST awareness day held in association with MYBA.

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