Case studies


Raffy talks about how UKSA’s inspirational 5-day Sea.Change Foundation course has helped him improve many of his life skills

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to reflect on a challenging year. Children and young people have been particularly affected. Families falling below the poverty line, less time outdoors, schools closing, and reduced employment prospects continue to have an overwhelmingly negative effect on their mental health.

UKSA is uniquely placed to support these young people. Our aspirational pathways into the maritime sector give young people hope for the future and equip them with the skills to make successful transitions into adulthood and employment.

Raffy’s story

“Raffy has always struggled at school and has found classroom based learning difficult. He’s now 14 and hasn’t been able to integrate fully with his peers at school, which has given him insecurities and a lack of confidence. I know he’s got the ability to achieve something, but he just hasn’t been given the right environment to do it before.” Mark, Raffy’s Dad

Raffy took part in Sea.Change Foundation this summer – a fully funded inspirational 5-day residential programme for teenagers from disadvantaged backgrounds to build life skills, make new friends and learn about training and careers in the maritime sector.

Raffy says: “I don’t get on at school and struggle to make friends as I feel nervous and don’t really fit in. Before UKSA, I hadn’t stayed away from my dad before as no one had ever invited me. It’s only me and my dad and I grew up on the Island so have always lived by the sea, but I’d never been sailing.

I love the instructors at UKSA, and I learnt so much from them. I can’t focus on learning at school, but the way they teach things at UKSA is different. It’s the first place where I haven’t just been treated like a kid – they even trusted me to drive the boat! They’re my role models and now I want to be a watersports instructor when I grow up. I’ve never felt like I had options for the future before.

I met kids from all different backgrounds, but we were mates straight away and worked together really well. I finally felt like I belong somewhere, and I was so happy when I was invited back to UKSA to take part in some work experience. I’m proud of myself for getting here and no longer feel like I’m failing. UKSA really did change my life.”

Raffy’s Dad continued: “Since his course, he’s been really enthusiastic and motivated and can’t wait to go back. He came home and wanted to tell me all about what he’d been doing. I’d not seen that in him before. I’ve seen a massive change in his maturity and behaviour.

Sea.Change Foundation has given him new skills, more confidence and a passion to explore new learning opportunities in maritime that can hopefully give him a brighter future. UKSA is a lifeline for us as he goes into the ‘wilderness’ teenage years. It’s given him a purpose. This is a pathway that could help lots of other young people like Raffy.”

At UKSA, we are passionate about being an inclusive organisation. Our Sea.Change Foundation programme is free for teenagers to attend, removing all barriers they may face. It costs us £450 to pay for a teenager to attend the 5-day course.

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