Neil McGrigor

The Royal Yacht Squadron Isle of Wight Foundation hosted a Marine Careers Fair in the pavilion of the RYS in Cowes last Wednesday (18th September).

Over 1,000 students (Years 6-11) from several Island schools and colleges attended the fair, which will now take place every other year.

There were presentations and exhibitor stands from a broad range of marine career providers, trainers and businesses.

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In the RYS Haven, several vessels were anchored displaying other marine activities to enable the visiting students to see just what marine careers are on offer. An RNLI Lifeboat, a UKSA 65’ Yacht and a Red Ensign Maritime Training workboat were available for pupils to explore and gain information from crews. Helping the students board the vessels was sailor and explorer extraordinaire Neil McGrigor who has undertaken several expeditions challenges and water-based explorations.

Red Ensign’s amphibious diving submersible was of interest to many. Remotely controlled, it can descend to a depth of 300 metres with its cameras sending back images of underwater objects.

The main aim for the day was to help young people explore the vast array of careers available and leave with as much information as they may need to make an informed choice when the time comes to choose a maritime career. Exhibitors were on hand to discuss qualification requirements, different pathways to gaining an end-goal career and help everyone explore all the possibilities on offer.

Members of the RYS Foundation hoped that visitors would leave feeling empowered and able to move forward to find a career that excites them.

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Several of the current group of beneficiaries acted as Ambassadors providing inspiration and information about their personal journeys. Corey Tuncer, an ex-Studio School student, is an apprentice at the Clare Lallow Boatyard in Cowes. The RYS Foundation assisted Corey with the purchase of specialised boat-building tools. With a current staff of around 12, this boatyard aims to take on a new apprentice most years. They have an unrivalled tradition of boat building and are also involved in the restoration of classic boats.

Dating back 700 years, the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights maintains its strong links to marine sectors. It donates to charities and individuals and has sponsored apprentices over the last 5 years including a number on the Island.

With over 1,600 members British Marine is the membership organisation for the leisure, superyacht and small commercial marine industry. There are career opportunities available in several sectors including marinas, chandlers and passenger boats.

Also offering career opportunities is Cowes Harbour Commission, the statutory authority for Cowes Harbour. They own/operate various concerns including Shepards Wharf Marina in order to self-finance their operations.

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Other stand holders included: Red Funnel, Ratsey and Lapthorn and Wight Shipyard Co.

Report and photos by Alan and Suzanne Whitewood

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