Nautilus strategic yacht partner UKSA has hosted a virtual graduation for 30 students on its flagship Cadetship course – the first course to graduate since the third Covid-19 lockdown.
With the support of the Isle of Wight based training provider, over 40 per cent of the course's graduates have already secured employment, with the remaining students actively seeking new opportunities across the superyacht industry.
The graduation was attended by 23 graduates and live-streamed to family and friends on the last weekend in April 2021. The cadetship course was delayed by the pandemic for about three months, so seven cadets have not yet fully graduated as they got job offers before the end of the course. They are expected to complete the course during their annual leave and graduate later.
The four-year programme offers a career path to Officer of the Watch (Yacht <3000GT) and onward to Master (Yacht <3000GT) qualifications and combines academic studies with periods of paid work on superyachts. Cadets can also complete an HNC in Operational Yacht Science through Falmouth Marine School.
UKSA's charitable partners made the professional course possible for 37% of this year's cohort, with sponsorship funding for the cadets coming from The Seafarers' Charity (formerly Seafarers UK) and Trinity House; with others receiving support from the Stephen Thomas Bursary, and the Michael (Milo) Hanlon Bursary.
Superyacht cadetship manager James Potipher said: 'It has been different to a normal cadetship year, but we have still provided all the same courses up to the same high standards. We already have 12 of the 30 in employment on superyachts before the course has even finished which is great.'
Three special awards were also presented to graduates in recognition of their great attitudes and in acknowledgement of their commitment to their career journeys.
Harry Daniels received the Trinity House Cadet of the Year award. He was described [during the ceremony] as being dedicated 'from day one to the course and no lockdowns or restrictions were going to stop him from achieving his goal.' He also flew out to his first job on an 80+m superyacht the day after graduation.
In his speech to students in a video Mr Daniels summed up some of the challenges the cadets have all experienced during the pandemic: 'We have had to make some sacrifices with destinations we can sail to and adhere to new guidelines, but as a group we have all pulled together and supported each other to the end.
'Having to stop our training due to a national lockdown was not an ideal situation, but I think that showed the determination and resilience of the group to keep going and getting the job done.'
The Cadets' Cadet of the Year award went to Filippo Oleggini, of Italy, who was described as having a 'genuinely great attitude to the course and his fellow students' and praised for doing the course 'in a second language, and passed everything with flying colours.'
Harrison Mockridge received The Greatest Journey award. Before the course he had never stepped on a boat before, but he 'jumped in at the deep end, and succeeded and came out with the qualifications to take him further.'
UKSA's CEO Ben Willows commented: 'Once again we are celebrating the achievements of our cadetship students as they go on to forge exciting and rewarding careers in the superyacht industry. The class of 2021 experienced unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic and demonstrated a huge amount of dedication, perseverance and resilience.'
UKSA runs four main superyacht courses including the Cadetship course, as well as Superyacht Crew Training courses – designed as a springboard into the superyacht industry – and Superyacht Interior courses.
This year UKSA is also starting a partnership with yachtbroker Edmiston for an intensive five-week crew training programme with a special focus on diversity to help students gain essential training needed for employment as a deckhand or crew member onboard an Edmiston managed superyacht. Up to 12 students are taking part in the first run of this course, starting in May 2021.