UKSA aims to enroll 500 disadvantaged youths
UKSA and Edmiston will aim to give those less fortunate an opportunity to forge a career in the superyacht industry…
UKSA, the largest RYA training centre in the world, recently invited thirty academy students to the Isle of Wight to take part in a programme funded by luxury superyacht broker, Edmiston. The Edmiston Foundation was launched in October 2020 by the UKSA and Edmiston to address diversity within the superyacht industry. The specific objective of the programme is to provide young people, especially those in the most underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, the opportunity to forge a career within the maritime sector.
The first students to take part in the programme derived from the Tile Cross Academy in Birmingham. The postcode of the institution places the school in the top three percent for deprivation in England and of the cohort of students that attended the course, over 80 percent live in postcodes in the top 10 percent for deprivation. The ward the school is in, is one of the 150 ‘Left Behind’ areas identified by the Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion with the attainment levels for children in this area being lower than average.
The initiative, which has been labeled the ‘Sea.Change Foundation course’ begins with a five-day residential programme designed to give teenagers from 14-17 the opportunity to experience a wide range of water-based activities alongside classroom-based sessions, where they can learn more about careers in the superyacht industry. Participation in the programme was also a contributing factor in the Tile Academy becoming a finalist in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2021.
Ben Willows, the man behind the initiative, told SuperyachtNews, “The kids get to do loads of different activities, from sailing to paddle boarding to team building games to going out on large yachts for the day. But the most important aspect of the programme is that it’s like an extended open day. So once they are here, they get to learn about all the different jobs in the maritime sector, whether that be training for superyachts, whether that be looking at things like working on wind farms, commercial work, whatever it might be.”
Willows continues, “We have to do this consistently. If you're going to do it, then do it well, and make an actual difference in these communities. You know, it's not just doing it for 10 people for a year and stopping, it's got to be consistent and ongoing.” The UKSA recently stated that the demand for superyacht training courses were at an all time high. The facilities are currently in the middle of a reinvestment programme costing roughly four million pounds. By Summer 2022 the UKSA will have a brand new accommodation and reception facility.
Willows admits that the training and education sector of the superyacht industry as a whole has fallen behind. The UKSA claims to be a trailblazer in the sector which remains ahead of the curve. However, the industry wide standard of training and certification has meant that not every individual who enters the industry is fully equipped for a career at sea. While the demand is high, the UKSA’s main objectives are to diversify the talent pool and engage in sustainable practices.
Neil Mackintosh, head of social mobility at Tile Cross Academy, stated that, “The cost of attending a residential course at a centre of excellence like the UKSA is beyond the means of the families we work with. The Sea.Change programme has enabled this and achieved many positive outcomes. For the majority of the pupils, it was the first time they had been away from home on a school trip, the first time they had been on a ferry, and the first time they had stayed at the seaside. Added to this, the wide variety of activities they then got to participate in and the detailed careers advice and education regarding the opportunities in the maritime industry. There is no doubt that it has broadened their horizons and raised their aspirations."
"A significant number now have their sights set on maritime careers including as chefs and superyacht skippers! All these experiences are key drivers of social mobility for the most disadvantaged pupils.”
Echoing Ben Willows and Neil Mackintosh, Jamie Edmiston, CEO of Edmiston and partner behind the Inclusivity programme, adds, “The aim of the initiative is to address diversity within the marine industry by delivering an education programme that allows young people from all walks of life to have equal career opportunities. Young people from disadvantaged communities are less likely to participate in outdoor and maritime activities, so by setting up the foundation we’re making maritime careers accessible for all. With their skills and new-found confidence, my hope is that these students will be the yacht designers, captains or yacht brokers of tomorrow.”
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