A Sandy student is heading for a life on the ocean waves.
Charley Keep has swapped the more traditional career path of university for a life at sea as she sets sail on her dream career working as an officer on-board luxury superyachts.
Charley 20, is currently on phase one of the Professional Yacht Cadetship (PYC) at leading maritime training provider and youth charity UKSA, on the Isle of Wight.
She began her training in October and has just graduated from the first phase of the course after being selected for funding by Seafarers UK.
As a real alternative to university, the PYC combines study sessions and sea phase training to prepare the cadets for a life as a deckhand, whilst training for a long-term career on superyachts. Whilst working in the industry, students can typically earn €2,000 a month tax free excluding tips. If sensible, students can graduate debt free and sail into a professional career.
Charley said: “Before the PYC I never really got on with anything and I didn’t know what sort of career path I wanted to take. I did my dinghy instructor course, enjoyed it and through it I found out about the maritime industry and UKSA’s PYC course.”
Charley added: “There is no way I would have been able to fund this course myself. I’ll never, ever imagine I’d do something like this so I’m very thankful for Seafarers UK’s support, otherwise we wouldn’t be here.”
The cadets will be starting employment as entry-level deckhands on board 24 metre plus yachts as they embark on phase two of the sandwich course. Phases three and five are spent training at UKSA, with more time spent in the industry during phase four.
The course also includes a Foundation Degree in Operational Yacht Science delivered in conjunction with Falmouth Marine School and validated by the University of Plymouth. With the Foundation Degree recently being granted full-time status, it can now be applied for through UCAS, plus successful cadets will be able to apply for student loans to assist them - as well as taking advantage of all the other associated benefits that full-time students enjoy.
UKSA’s Cadetship Manager, Emma Baggett, adds: “With expensive tuition fees and graduate unemployment rates, vocational training has definitely become the new university – and the PYC is particularly in demand because of the funding support we offer through the Professional Yacht Cadetship Bursary (PYCB). We currently have 158 cadets out in the industry and it is our global relationships with crew agents and captains themselves that make the cadetship so successful. This alongside full mentoring support, which carries on throughout their careers, is unique to UKSA”
The application and selection process is currently underway for the October 2017 intake. For further information on this year’s intake or future training visit www.uksa.org or call (01983) 203038.