Case studies

Rachel Brazier

From BTEC to UKSA Instructor to Professional Yachtmaster Offshore

Maritime career pathways at UKSA

Former BTEC student in Outdoor Sports with a passion for sailing, Rachel Brazier now works at UKSA as a watersports instructor. After a season working for us as an instructor, she is now embarking on a Professional Yachtmaster Offshore course to launch a career in the maritime industry.

I worked at UKSA as a seasonal watersports instructor

Rachel stepped onto the UKSA campus for the first time 2 years ago to work as a seasonal watersports instructor. Rachel’s love of sailing/watersports from an early age encouraged her to work in watersports and after a season, just as she was considering higher education, her enthusiasm for sailing prompted her to seriously rethink her next step.

I decided to turn something I’m passionate about into my future career

Rachel tells her story from gaining a BTEC qualification to deciding to enrol on our Professional Yachtmaster Offshore course. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next and I was thinking about going back to conventional education. As I really enjoy crewing on sailing yachts like the Farr 65, I decided to turn something I’m passionate into my future career.

After graduating from Shuttleworth College with a BTEC Level 3,  I then came to work at UKSA as an instructor. I thought about all the pros and cons of conventional education versus vocational, professional yacht training.  After talking with other students, as well as industry professionals staying on site for short courses, I took the big decision to start an exciting new adventure.

Getting my Professional Yachtmaster Offshore qualification has opened up so many employment opportunities

I will begin my training in October to start my career in yachting; a pathway I want to advance in for the next 5-10 years. The Professional Yachtmaster Offshore qualification will open up employment opportunities as a flotilla/charter/delivery skipper, yachting instructor or as a superyacht deckhand.

At UKSA students and staff became like an extended family

Before coming to UKSA, I had only been away from home for week-long school trips so initially, it felt very daunting. However, I settled in quickly as everyone on the campus was so friendly. Other students and staff became like an extended family (sorry if that sounds cheesy, but it’s true) and what was really great was that there was always something going on socially after studies/work so you never felt left out.

I used to be nervous but being at UKSA has improved my confidence

Being here has improved my confidence enormously; I have gone from being nervous about speaking to people to being able to talk to an entire school party visiting to do watersports. I found out that I really enjoy teaching children and talking with their teachers. UKSA has opened up a lot of pathways I wasn’t aware of before coming here. I discovered what I like doing best and all the career routes open to me. I feel really excited about my future. I wish other young people like me could hear about what’s available and find out about all the fun alternatives to conventional education and do something completely different.

Use this great opportunity and make the most of being here

My advice to others coming here to do training courses is to join in. Use this great opportunity and make the most of being here. Once you are competent you can use all the kit and go out on the water in your free time with other students and an instructor.”

Find out about UKSA’s fully-funded further education courses for age 16-19 including the BTEC in Sport & Outdoor Activities Level 3 & the Watersports Instructor Traineeship:

Or for age 18 and over, and to see what Rachel is going to study, find out more about the Professional Yachtmaster Offshore:

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