The Edmiston Foundation is delighted to announce that a first cohort of 30 students has taken part its pioneering Sea.Change Foundation course, run by UKSA, the national maritime charity widening access to maritime training and employment. The Edmiston Foundation was launched in October 2020 by UKSA and yacht brokerage, Edmiston, to address diversity within the superyacht industry, and it provides young people from the most underrepresented and disadvantaged groups with the opportunity to forge a career within the maritime sector.
The inspirational five-day residential Sea.Change Foundation programme is designed to give youngsters from 14-17 the opportunity to experience a wide range of water-based activities, alongside classroom-based sessions, where they learn more about career options in the maritime sector. As a result of taking part in the programme, the Tile Cross Academy, Birmingham, became a finalist in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2021.
The postcode of the Academy places the school in the top three percent for deprivation in England and of the cohort of students that attended the course, over 80 percent live in postcodes in the top 10 percent for deprivation. The ward the school is in is one of the 150 ‘Left Behind’ areas identified by the Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion and the attainment levels for children in this area are lower than average and the gap is widening.
Jamie Edmiston, CEO of Edmiston, comments: “The aim of the initiative is to address diversity within the marine industry by delivering an education programme that allows young people from all walks of life to have equal career opportunities. Young people from disadvantaged communities are less likely to participate in outdoor and maritime activities, so by setting up the foundation we’re making yacht careers accessible for all. With their skills and new-found confidence, my hope is that these students will be the yacht designers, captains or yacht brokers of tomorrow.”
Ben Willows, CEO of UKSA comments: “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. 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.”
He continues: “We are delighted to have welcomed thirty students from Tile Cross Academy as our first school to complete the programme. 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. Now, more than ever, programmes like the Sea.Change Foundation which help to prepare young people for the 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.”
Neil Mackintosh, head of social mobility at Tile Cross Academy, comments: “Opportunities such as the Sea.Change Foundation at UKSA drive social mobility. The funding allows students to have the same opportunities as their peers and it has expanded their horizons to an industry that they would have otherwise not considered. The change in them is remarkable with a notable increase in confidence and attitude.”
Abduranman, 14 who completed the programme with Tile Cross Academy said: “Before this course, I was bored and only played football in my free time. I wanted to experience something exciting. I found the Sea.Change programme interesting because I’ve never experienced something like this before. We went on many sea sport activities and had many life-changing experiences. The best thing I’ve learnt about myself was being more confident in the water. By taking part in the course, it may change my job choice for the future as I found working on superyachts really very interesting.
Badr, 15, said: “I have experienced new things which I’ve loved, and my favourite part was steering a big yacht whilst out at sea. I love the ocean and will enjoy working on it and my time here has helped me decide my future career as I would love to come back to UKSA after I finish school and work towards a future in the maritime industry.”