An unemployed Margate man is celebrating securing an apprenticeship thanks to youth charity UKSA’s back-to-work programme, Change Direction in Kent. Taylor Lawrence, age 20, is now a successful Marina Apprentice working at Port of Dover’s Marina Office – Europe’s busiest and most successful ferry port.

After finishing college, Taylor was unsure what to do having not been successful in finding a job. He found UKSA’s Change Direction programme and hasn’t looked back since.

The Change Direction programme is a unique six-week back-to-work training scheme which enables young people to have the self-belief, confidence and relevant experience to land a Change Direction apprenticeship. UKSA uses sailing and watersports as a catalyst to change lives and the life changing Change Direction programme combines on-the-water activities with marine-based work experience and personal mentoring about career options.


Taylor explained “I knew the course would give me a goal, something to work towards. I had never had any experience of watersports so this was a completely new challenge. Before I came to UKSA, I was really nervous. However once I got here it was absolutely brilliant and I really enjoyed it”.

Following the course, students are placed in companies to develop their knowledge and gain valuable experience. After finishing his UKSA programme, Taylor expressed an interest in the apprenticeship opportunities at the Port and was invited for an interview when the Port of Dover launched its 2014-2015 apprenticeship intake. After securing a 15-month apprenticeship, Taylor has kick-started his maritime career.

A spokesman from the Port of Dover said said: “The Port is delighted that, in addition to our extensive apprenticeship commitments, we can provide meaningful maritime work experience to this group of young people by supporting the great work of the UKSA.”

Taylor continued “Being a Port of Dover apprentice has provided me with a fantastic opportunity to increase my skills and employment prospects. Dover Marina is one of the best known marinas on the South Coast and attracts over 3000 seasonal visitors each year from mainland Europe. It has been an intense environment, but a great learning curve”.