'Girls on Deck' thanks to UKSA's Superyacht Cadetship

Published 14/02/2017

UKSA sees unprecedented numbers of women enrol for the Superyacht Cadetship.

UKSA is delighted to have welcomed six women on to the first phase of their Superyacht Cadetship (SYC) for 2016/2017 – the highest number of women since the flagship course began in 2006.

The six, aged between 18 and 20, five of whom have had their training sponsored by UK maritime charities, began the first phase of the four-year programme in September 2016 at the UKSA base in Cowes.  They are now being interviewed for their first employment as superyacht deckhands starting in March 2017. The cadets will then return to UKSA for the next phase of their training after 18 months of gaining the first-hand experience. In total, the course will see the cadets complete five phases of training – two of which are working within the superyacht industry as fully paid members of the deck crew.

UKSA is delighted to see more women seeking careers in the maritime industry

UKSA are particularly pleased that the level of women joining the course has increased, as the superyacht industry has typically been perceived as male-dominated, particularly with regards to the senior deck positions and engineering. Emma Baggett, Industry and Cadetship Manager explains more: “Over the last five years, we have seen women increasingly gaining positions at the highest level in the industry. Superyacht Cadetship is committed to assist in encouraging young women to aspire to be successful officers and captains within the sector.”

We spoke to some of the latest cohort of Superyacht Cadets at UKSA, all of whom are keen sailors, with an impressive range of experience including voyaging on traditional sail training vessels, competing at national level in Olympic dinghy fleets and completing a double-handed yacht race to the Azores and back.

Lisa, a Trinity House sponsored cadet aged 19, recognises the potential issues she may face upon entering the industry: “Some boats struggle to employ female deck crew due to cabin arrangements and in general there are typically less female deckhand roles, however, it has been great to receive advice and encouragement from female cadets already forging successful careers, and hear about how much they enjoy what they do. I am really looking forward to gaining my first position.”

I don’t believe being a female should hold you back in a male-dominated industry

Trinity House Cadet Poppy, 20, is cautiously optimistic about her future career: “I think being a female will cause me some hurdles in the industry. However, I don’t believe it should hold you back if you don’t allow it to, it is just important to be aware of the issues, but not let them affect me.”

UKSA CEO Ben Willows adds: “We are delighted to see the numbers of females entering the industry increasing year-on-year. With UKSA’s industry guidance and our on-going support when the cadets begin full-time careers, we can see no reason for them not to join the highest echelons of the industry.”

UKSA’s Superyacht Cadetship (SYC) typically has an intake of between 25 and 30 cadets on to the course. The PYC mixes classroom time with valuable, paid industry experience leading to the MCA Officer of the Watch (3,000 gross tonnes) Certificate of Competence. The course also offers the opportunity for the students to complete a foundation degree in operational yacht science.