Case studies

Holly Barnard

With the support of Trinity House, I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime.

The UKSA Superyacht Cadetship offers an exciting alternative to university and could result in a long-term career which includes travelling all over the world. The Cadetship is designed to send graduates onto yachts with a realistic understanding of the yachting industry and our cadets are currently employed in all areas of the sector, from racing superyachts to the most high-profile motor vessels. Superyacht Cadet graduate Holly Barnard shares her experience whilst training at UKSA.

What were you doing before you came to UKSA?

Before starting the cadetship at UKSA, I was instructing windsurfing & sailing full time in the Cairngorm Mountain range at Loch Insh Outdoor Centre.

How did you hear about UKSA and what made you do your Cadetship with us?

I previously completed the Neilson watersports instructor program at UKSA. Looking to open more doors within the maritime industry, I began researching different careers and decided I wanted to sail superyachts. The structure, guidance and learning environment that UKSA’s cadetship holds seemed to be a compatible match for my continuous drive for development. I believed that the cadetship would not only enhance my maritime and interpersonal skills but act as a gateway to progress through the industry.

Did you receive funding for the Cadetship, if so who from?

With the support of Trinity House, I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Without their funding, I would not have been able to afford the course. Forever grateful for their continued support and guidance, I would like to say a huge thank you to them for sponsoring the beginning of my journey and look forward to keeping in touch with them for the future.

Before joining the cadetship, had you already gained any sailing experience or qualifications?

I learnt to sail recreationally as a kid and then threw myself into different water sports. Only when I moved out to Croatia for a summer season, did I get back into sailing. From here, I made the decision to drop out of university, qualify as a dinghy instructor and start teaching full time. By far the best decision I’ve made to date.

Describe your typical day at UKSA

At UKSA, no day is ever the same. Whether it be studying the theory of sailing, up to your eyeballs in chart work, cooking up a storm with your crew, dismantling engine systems, sailing new waters, gale force winds, fire fighting, dolphins playing off your bow, navigating at night, or dancing in the cockpit to keep warm! Never take a day for granted.

Describe your 3 highlights

Where to begin?!

Tackling flames on the fire fighting course, little 5year old me was delighted to be a fire fighter for the day. The clear night skies, moonlight waters and shooting stars dancing across the sky.
However, the best highlight of the cadetship would have to be…picture this, sailing out of a gale force 10 storm, to flat calm waters, everyone exhausted from seasickness & lack of sleep. I was on helm, enjoying the peace when all of a sudden 30+ dolphins swam alongside and started playing off our bow. Having not seen any dolphins during the day before, we had made a crew promise to wake each other up if they appeared. It was the biggest pick me up we could have ever asked for, simply unreal.

Describe your first sea phase

Force 3. Smooth. Clear. Hot. Sunburnt noses. Interesting cooking. Big smiles.

What would you like your first job to be?

For my first job in the industry, in an ideal world, I’d love nothing more than to be on a classic sail yacht/explorer vessel. However, given my lack of experience, I’ll grab any opportunity I can to expand my skillset and broaden my horizons.

What are your future career aspirations upon graduation?

As someone who thrives off of knowledge and experiences, I want to progress through the ranks, work towards my OOW modules and see where the wind takes me!

What advice would you offer someone studying at UKSA and considering our Cadetship?

As someone who fell into the conventional ways of education, I would fully encourage anyone who’s looking for a career or the opportunity to work within the maritime industry/abroad to get in touch with UKSA. Not only for the courses they provide, but for the support and advice they give you after completion is second to none.

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