UKSA was honoured to welcome their Patron, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to their site in Cowes on the morning of 9th October 2020 for an update on our Building Better Futures campaign. Launched by The Princess Royal in 2017, UKSA is privileged to have the continued support of our Patron, including a reception hosted at St. James’s Palace in 2019, which resulted in the maritime education charity’s largest ever single donation to date.
During her visit, we were proud to show Her Royal Highness the developments on site, including the acquisition and renovation of the Cowes Youth Centre relaunched as our new Training Centre, which houses our newly created navigation and broadcast suites. Developed in response to COVID, these facilities enable UKSA to deliver Live Online Learning to our students so they can progress their careers irrespective of any travel or social distancing restrictions. We also took this opportunity to update her on the progress of our plans to build a new accommodation facility, which will transform UKSA’s site with modern new facilities to support students learning whilst staying with us. With planning permission in already place for the new accommodation facility, we shared with The Princess Royal the final stage of the design plans. (A decision to proceed is expected later this year once confirmation should the final tranche of funding be received.)
In addition to the improvements and developments on the actual site, we unveiled three exciting new initiatives that will enhance the lives and maritime career opportunities for even more young people. Even before the current Coronavirus pandemic gripped the world, UKSA believed all young people had
a need; to be inspired, to have their horizons broadened or simply to have their barriers to opportunity removed. With the challenges of the current situation, limiting the careers prospects for many of our young people, never has it been a better time to offer further training opportunities for this cohort leading to tangible pathways into maritime employment.
The Sea.Change Fund is being launched to help ensure we can be there for the thousands of children and young people for whom outside and adventure learning can make an extraordinary difference. We aim to remove both financial and social barriers to enable a young person from any background to achieve the best version of themselves and gain life changing experiences, qualifications, and employment. The Sea.Change Fund will also support UKSA’s brand new initiative, The Sea.Change Foundation which we are piloting with Island young people in October 2020, together with The Prince’s Trust. The Sea.Change Foundation is an inspirational programme that will provide 14-18-year olds the opportunity to visit UKSA for 5 days over the school holidays. It will enable young people to experience a wide range of water-based yachting and watersports activities. Alongside this there will be classroom based learning to showcase the pathways and breadth of careers opportunities in the maritime sector.
UKSA also is proud to have gained the accreditation to be added to the register as a recognised Apprenticeship Training provider. Through our recognition to now deliver both the Able Seafarer Deck apprenticeship in conjunction with the Work Boat apprenticeship, we will be able to extend our work in
supporting young people into careers. This exciting training programme will open more career
opportunities to young people in the 18-24 age-bracket through placements on ferries, work boats and cruise ships.
Finally, in September 2020 we launched the UKSA’s 2-year Maritime Foundation course aimed at those young people who have no prior experience in watersports or yachting. This course provides the essential skills, qualifications and knowledge required to start a career within the Maritime Industry. This course is funded as part of a full-time 16+ further education (FE) programme and is delivered in partnership with the Isle of Wight College.
Ben Willows, UKSA CEO commented; “Having guided the organisation through the very significant impact of COVID, it was particularly uplifting for the team to welcome The Princess Royal to UKSA and for this we thank her. We were proud to share our progress on several exciting initiatives that will strengthen both UKSA’s future and the future of the thousands of young people we work with every year. In normal circumstances we would also take this occasion to welcome and thank our donors and partners in person. However, although they are unable to be with us today, I and the UKSA team would like to personally thank each and every one of them for their support and generosity that allows us to continue with our ambition to change the lives of many more deserving beneficiaries.”