Josh O’Donaghue, aged 18, found it difficult to find job opportunities in Jersey where he lived. He moved to the Isle of Wight to find work or training, and at first managed to find some short term jobs; working as a push bike salesman, car mechanic and trainee tree surgeon. However, these jobs, combined with months of unemployment which he hated, meant he knew he had to find something better.
His aunt found out about the UKSA Change Direction programme from our Facebook page. A lot of the areas covered in the course were activities he was familiar with anyway, like kayaking and sailing, and it was a Back to Work course directing young people towards realistic career options, so he was very keen to get started.
He said: “I didn’t realise how big the Marine Industry is, or that I could be working in it. The ways in were just not advertised at schools and other places you’d look for information or guidance.”
After completing Change Direction Josh signed up for BTEC Level 2 in Leadership in Outdoor Industries and plans to do Watersports Instructor Training before going travelling and teaching watersports; first to somewhere warm like Greece or Turkey. Alongside the watersports, in a few years time Josh would like to move into the world of yachting and then progress in the industry.
He says of studying at UKSA that “just walking down the slipway every morning you pick up an incredible buzz from all the activity”.
For anyone thinking about the Change Direction programme, Josh said: “UKSA is good for helping people in trouble. I was always motivated to go out and find a job, but even if you’ve got that motivation you can only take so many setbacks.”