Recruiter SYR partners with UKSA to promote diversity in maritime careers

Woman on boat against blue sky

The marine recruitment agency SYR has launched a three-year partnership with maritime charity UKSA to promote maritime careers among young people, particularly those from diverse backgrounds.

In a world that is becoming ever more digital, SYR says that the yachting industry “has a fight on its hands” to attract individuals from all walks of life to fill an increasing demand for maritime products and services.

“We’re acutely aware of an impending skills shortage across yachting, along with a lack of gender, race and class diversity in the industry,” SYR founder Ed Ewer tells MIN. “We hope that this partnership will leverage both our expansive network and the excellent courses and support that UKSA offer to promote the industry externally, encouraging stronger uptake in maritime careers ashore and at sea.”

As shoreside specialists, SYR traditionally focuses on higher education and promoting training in areas such as design, naval architecture or manufacturing. However, the firm says it realises that the “seeds of yachting need to be sown much earlier than this”, hence its decision to partner with UKSA.

“We’ve been aware of the work that UKSA do for a long time, however after an invite to an event during the summer and after speaking at length with a number of senior members of the UKSA team, it’s clear that they have the future of our industry at the heart of everything they do,” says Ewer. “We are regularly discussing how to further promote and grow uptake in maritime careers, and this partnership will continue to bring a diverse range of individuals into yachting through both awareness and ongoing funding.”

SYR says that, historically, yachting jobs have been staffed by individuals “from specific class and race backgrounds.” UKSA is working to change this demographic through the sponsorship and training of young people, alongside fully supporting maritime cadetships for those who cannot afford to undergo training through their own means.

Ed Ewer, Founder of SYR Superyacht Recruiter
Ed Ewer, founder of SYR

SYR is working with UKSA in two ways. First, supporting the training and development of young people, but secondly, offering a careers advisory outpost for those looking to come ashore after many years at sea.

“In a world that is becoming ever more digitalised, there is a huge need to promote what we would describe as ‘manual’ employment,” says Ewer. “We have conducted a number of surveys ourselves and combined with other data collection from across the market we are aware that the average age of employees within maritime careers in soaring, pointing to a clear skills shortfall in the next 10 years. We are proactively working to ensure that young people are made aware of the incredible range of careers offered in yachting both at sea and ashore, so that we can safeguard the industries future.” 

Almost as hard as getting to sea in the first place, the transition from the transient and often lucrative world of seafaring back to land life can be a challenge, one that there are few sources of advice from.

SYR hopes to use its expertise in careers advice to help ex-seafarers be placed in roles in disciplines such as yacht management, brokerage and sales.

In November, UKSA partnered with tour operator Neilson Active Holidays to offer watersports instructor training students guaranteed job roles with Neilson, as well as course fee support.

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