Together we want to provide more people with the opportunity to experience life at sea
The Edmiston Foundation and UKSA have been working together since 2020, with the aim of addressing diversity within the superyacht industry, while providing young people who might not otherwise have the chance to, to reap the benefits of sailing and yachting.
Amy Sweeting, Director of Development & Fundraising at UKSA, says working with Edmiston has been a catalyst for achieving the charity’s ambitions. “Obviously the funding has been a key part of that,” she says, “But it’s also about enabling us to have conversations with the wider maritime industry. Having Edmiston’s backing means we can be there at the table – there’s a sense of ‘we support this, you should too’”.
Young people from minority communities and low socio-economic groups, predominantly those living in inner-city areas, are far less likely to take part in outdoor and maritime activities, which leads to a minority representation from these groups working within the maritime industry.
UKSA works hard to break down these barriers and its Sea. Change programme, which Edmiston helps fund, offers young people, some of whom have never left their borough or been to the coast, to not only enjoy time on the water, building their self-esteem and resilience, but also see the career opportunities it could offer them.
UKSA offers young people aged 14-17 the opportunity to come for a five-day residential trip on the south coast during the school holidays. While at UKSA, these teenagers develop life skills, broaden their horizons, and develop confidence on the water and are introduced to the employment and career pathways available in the maritime sector.
Amy says: “A young person on our Sea. Change programme might be sat next to a superyacht captain and start to think ‘what are the things I could do?’”.
Not only does the Sea.Change programme offer a solution to the inequality experienced by children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, but it also addresses talent shortage, lack of diversity and accessibility in the maritime industry. As a key player in the superyacht Industry, Edmiston is proud to be supporting this important work.
Driving real change
In 2022/23, 296 beneficiaries were funded through the Sea.Change programme. This year, UKSA will welcome 500 beneficiaries from disadvantaged backgrounds, largely supported by the Edmiston Foundation.
One of those beneficiaries is Adame Ahmed, who struggled at school, “School is not the place for me,” he says, “they don’t teach us values to come into the real world.”
But in August 2022, Adame quickly found his place in the world after joining the UKSA’s Sea.Change programme. He subsequently joined the UKSA’s NCFE Programme – a two-year programme designed to gain the relevant skills required to start a career in the maritime industry – and has since gained further qualifications to become a UKSA instructor. When Nick and Jamie Edmiston met him earlier this year, they were so impressed by him that they invited him to work for Edmiston at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show.
Amy says: “That’s the thing with Nick and Jamie, they really put their money where their mouth is, in all aspects.”
Each year UKSA’s Cadetship Programme offers further training for those young people ambitious enough to set their sights on becoming officers in the superyacht industry. At the end of the four-year programme, cadets progress to the STCW II/2 Master (Yacht <3000GT) qualification.
Last year, Edmiston funded Kai to complete phase one of UKSA’s four-year Cadetship programme. Kai grew up in Stoke-on-Trent, where there weren’t many opportunities to access the water. After trying rowing, he became interested in boats and came to UKSA to take part in the Cadetship programme.
“The funding from Edmiston helped me to join the Cadetship and begin my yachting journey,” he says.
“Without the funding, I wouldn’t have been able to do the course, so a huge thank you to Edmiston. Now, I’m working as a sole deck/engineer onboard a 24m yacht in Scotland, where I am gaining valuable practical experience needed for me to progress”.
This year, Edmiston is funding Jaydon to complete phase one of the Cadetship. Jaydon is from a single-parent family in Haringey, in receipt of Free School Meals and has special education needs.
He has already passed his ENG1, has coached sailing for younger sailors, participated in many national and international sailing events, has some work experience on superyachts and he started his Cadetship at the beginning of September.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I would never be here without the support from Edmiston,” Jaydon says. “It’s not been easy for me to start my career on superyachts, and I have already faced inequality because of my background. Having Edmiston by my side will be invaluable as I navigate lots more challenges that I will no doubt face.”
The aim of UKSA now is to secure even more funding and support from across the marine industry to ensure it can continue delivering this vital work and invite more young people onto its programmes.
Amy says: “We are ready to have bigger conversations with people and we are excited about where it might lead.”
22 September 2023
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