Cowes academy’s new push to broaden youth maritime careers

Cowes-based maritime charity UK Sailing Academy (UKSA) has launched a new video that highlights the rich and varied experiences it has for children and young people at its campus on the Isle of Wight. The charity is also improving its facility with a new 136-bed accommodation centre, which work will start on in 2022.

The video aims to inspire and attract donations to enable more children and young people from across the UK, who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it, to benefit from their watersports activities programmes and educational initiatives. The charity will help a further 45,000 beneficiaries by 2025. 

“Our purpose is supported in two ways. Firstly, to extend our reach by widening access and increasing the number of children that come on our residential school trips, and secondly, by broadening our maritime career opportunities for students,” says Ben Willows, UKSA’s CEO. “Our Sea.Change Foundation course was born out of a need to bridge these two areas and to provide for young people who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to come and stay at UKSA and learn all about the maritime sector and the fantastic funding, training and employment options that are available.

In the video, Willows explains the charity’s purpose of broadening the horizons of young people while also building their confidence and developing life skills. He also talks about its Sea.Change Foundation – an inspirational programme that provides 14-18-year-olds from challenging backgrounds the opportunity to learn about training and careers in the maritime sector through a five-day residential trip over the school holidays.

“We are continually investing in our facilities and offering to ensure the best experiences for every student who walks through the door. We have raised over £4m for our current building project offering state-of-the-art accommodation and facilities which is due for completion in summer 2022. We want to ensure this momentum is continued to make a difference to as many young people as possible.”

“The Social Mobility Commission’s 2019 report An Unequal Playing Field: Extra-Curricular Activities, Soft Skills and Social Mobility clearly demonstrates that participation in activities beyond the classroom has great added value in a child’s development,” continues Willows. “Not having access to or participating in these activities is a significant restraint on social mobility. At UKSA, our programmes offer a positive and enriching experience for young people, not only as positive educational outcomes but also offering the possibility for developing a wider set of skills beyond the qualifications obtained from school.

“So many children and young people were already missing out on life-changing opportunities because schools, local authorities and parents simply couldn’t afford to pay for them, and the pandemic has unfortunately only exacerbated this situation. We are delighted to be able to support around 10,000 beneficiaries a year through our activities, but we know we need to, and can do so much more. We want to help and support 45,000 more beneficiaries before 2025 but we need support to do this.

“Now, more than ever, programmes like the Sea.Change Foundation, which help to prepare young people for the maritime workplace are vital. A reduction in education, employment and training opportunities as a result of the pandemic will hit the most disadvantaged young people the hardest.”

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