Case studies

Ollie Garton

A day in the life of a Phase 3 Cadet

OLLIE, 26, is a Phase Three Cadet on UKSA’s unique Superyacht Cadetship programme. A five-phase programme structured over four years, the Cadetship allows students to earn money and simultaneously train for a career in the superyacht industry. Ollie is currently Solo Engineer on a private yacht.

I’m responsible for …

Ensuring that everything on the yacht is operating effectively and running smoothly. This includes everything from a lightbulb to the engine.

I wanted to go into my profession because …

After being a car mechanic for four years I began working as a car salesman, but being in an office all day wasn’t the life for me. I searched far and wide on the internet for something different that I could do and because UKSA had the best reputation in the industry, I thought that getting a qualification with them would help as the superyacht industry is so competitive. UKSA seemed to offer all the qualifications for Yachtmaster in one package, and I’ve since discovered that they run everything you need to get started in yachting and superyachting.

I began the Superyacht Cadetship after receiving funding from Trinity House, and I’ve never looked back. Since coming to UKSA I have learned how to maximise my potential in everything from sailing to compiling a marine CV and I have learned loads from some really experienced instructors. Once I’ve completed the Cadetship I would like to be the skipper of a yacht and have enough knowledge to be able to run and command the vessel.

I got my job …

When UKSA put me forward for my first job and I managed to secure it after being flown out to the south of France for the strangest interview I had ever taken part in! I worked all around the Mediterranean and travelled to loads of places in order to complete different charters and trips with the owner onboard.

Then I met my Captain and I managed to secure my current role as Solo Engineer on a private yacht.  I am now hoping to complete the final stage of the Cadetship and get my Officer of the Watch (OOW) and then go on to obtain a Yacht 4 Chief Yacht Engineering qualification within the next two to three years.

“UKSA seemed to offer all the qualifications for Yachtmaster in one package.”

The best part of my job …

Is the constant sunshine, the crew, the food and the satisfaction of being able to fix something that others can’t. I love the responsibility of having to make everything run smoothly and having to be organised down to the tiniest detail.

Many people think …

That it’s tough, hard work, but it’s not as hard as it’s made out to be. It’s also nothing like the reality programme ‘Below Deck’ or any other portrayal of the industry.  Some day-to-day tasks can be a little tedious but in general, it’s the most interesting, fun job I have ever had. I look forward to work every single day and never get the Monday blues!

My most memorable moment so far is …

Really hard to pinpoint as there have been so many of them, but in Phase One of the Cadetship, I learned how to sail a 40-foot yacht backwards! In Phase One you take the yachts out by yourself in the crew you are placed with for the full duration of the phase, and it’s a massive learning curve.

This is the first time you have no one to fall back on and you have to make decisions for yourself. Lots of things didn’t go perfectly, but this is what made me and my crew ready for the industry.

Last summer was an incredible experience – I met some amazing people and did some really great networking at dock parties, which are a fantastic way to blow off steam and make new friends!

Make the ocean your office

To find out more about our Superyacht Cadetships please visit

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