Two successful marine-based charities have announced their intention to work together on a national level to benefit young people.
Sea Cadets and youth charity UKSA will provide a wide range of opportunities within the maritime sector by utilising each other’s resources, facilities and expertise.
The joint aim is to help young people with the transition from education into employment, offering careers in yachting and watersports as an alternative to the traditional merchant route.
Maritime training provider UKSA is based on the Isle of Wight but has started to run its successful youth development programmes nationwide in partnership with local councils, helping young people aged 16 to 24. The new partnership with Sea Cadets will help UKSA broaden its engagement by using Sea Cadets facilities across the UK.
Among the professional training courses offered at UKSA is a six-week programme to develop deckhands for deployment in the superyacht industry, and the two partners will now work together to identify funding for deckhands wanting to upskill to officer level via the UKSA Superyacht Cadetship. Selected Sea Cadets will be encouraged to follow this pathway and benefit from existing and newly created funding opportunities.
As part of its national training programme, Sea Cadets will promote to sea cadets UKSA’s week-long Opportunities Afloat careers taster course, which explains the opportunities in yachting and watersports. The Watersports Instructor Training course will also be mooted as a good pathway into the watersports industry and a potential longer term pathway into the broader maritime sector.
UKSA also offers fully funded BTEC courses, with a watersports element leading to dinghy and kayak qualifications. As they provide the opportunity for students to study at no personal cost, they could be a good route for sea cadets.
Additionally, in an exciting development, the organisations will work together to offer watersports activities at the Royal Victoria Docks in London.
UKSA’s Chief Executive Richard Thornton said: “Working together like this is a fantastic opportunity for both organisations and will be of huge benefit to all the young people we can reach.
“We hear so much these days about a lack of opportunities for young people but the maritime industry is often overlooked. There are thousands of Sea Cadets in the UK who have joined Sea Cadets through an interest in the water, so they are the ideal young people to consider working in a sector they will have an affinity for.
“UKSA can offer direction towards not only the traditional maritime routes but also the watersports industry and the exciting, challenging and lucrative superyacht industry, which may be areas the sea cadets have not considered before.”
Captain Sea Cadets, Captain Jonathan Holloway RN, says: “Sea Cadets already know about careers in the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy but this important partnership invites cadets to think about a career in the luxury superyacht industry.
“Cadets who have seen a superyacht on harbours can only dream of working on one but this vital partnership invites young people from all walks of life the opportunity for their dreams to become a reality.”
Several Sea Cadets have set sail for a career after training at UKSA. James Johnson of Brentwood achieved a prestigious maritime qualification enabling him to work aboard the world’s most luxurious superyachts.
He completed the three-year Superyacht Cadetship including MCA Officer of the Watch 3000GT Certificate. It meant he could work as Officer of the Watch aboard the world’s superyacht fleet, up to 3,000 gross tonnes, but also skipper smaller private yachts as they sail across the world.
During his Cadetship at UKSA, in addition to intensive training at its campus in Cowes, James sailed in the Caribbean and through the Mediterranean to gain vital practical experience of working at sea.
Sea Cadets also got Oliver Whitten dreaming about a yachting career, and after researching thoroughly he decided UKSA was the place to make his dream come true. The 18-year-old from Dunstable was awarded a Trinity House bursary such was his passion and determination to do the course.
Cilla Whitten, Oliver’s mother, said: “Olly was a sea cadet for many years and it was during his time there he developed a passion for boats. He found out about UKSA’s cadetship and decided this was the path he needed to take. While at UKSA he gained many qualifications including his yachtmaster. He is now in the South of France on a superyacht living the dream and getting paid for it. He has a very prosperous career ahead of him, with a real great chance of going all the way to the top.”
Oliver said: “I have a sense of adventure and want to be working on something I love doing. I started sailing on lakes and then got into racing, and I sailed and sailed pretty much every weekend to get a load of experience.
“While at UKSA the support was very good, open door policy with all staff, and all students were very good in supporting each other with the tougher side of the course. I would recommend UKSA, as it is a great way to gain qualifications that you need as well as gaining industry knowledge before attempting to find work, which makes it easy when you are trying to impress potential employers. My first position, although only a relief position, was through contacts of UKSA.”
Josh Syrett is now a lead deckhand onboard a superyacht owned by a high profile celebrity. He explains his journey: “My main experience that led me to UKSA was through the sea cadets and their training centre TS Rebel based at Walton-On-The-Naze. I heard about UKSA through a sea cadet friend after he came back from his first season working on a yacht, showing me pictures and telling stories. UKSA is a great place to study with some amazing teachers, who come from all backgrounds with vast amounts of knowledge.”
Whether at sea or on land, Sea Cadets offers young people between 10 and 18 an environment where they can find new confidence and inspiration, through nautical adventure. Across the UK 14,000 young people are challenging themselves and learning new skills based on the customs and traditions of the Royal Navy to give them the best possible head start life.
Photo shows UKSA and MSSC representatives from left: Mark Windsor, MSSC Director of Lifelong Learning, UKSA Chief Executive Richard Thornton, MSSC Chief Executive Martin Coles, and UKSA Director of Operations Ben Willows. Pictured with Sea Cadets at Welsh Harp Boat Station in Wembley, North London.