Sailing charity, UKSA, has launched its 2021 Sea.Change Foundation Programme that aims to get teenagers across the UK to learn about training and careers in the maritime sector; with funding available for those who need it.

The Sea.Change Foundation enables young people to experience a wide range of water-based yachting and watersports activities. Alongside this there is classroom-based learning to showcase the pathways and breadth of career opportunities in the maritime sector.

UKSA works with its partners to ensure the content is relevant, topical and engaging. The unique programme was piloted with young people from the Isle of Wight in partnership with The Princes Trust in October 2020, with a full roll out this year.

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Ben Willows, CEO of UKSA, comments:

“So many children and young people have missed out on life-changing opportunities because schools, local authorities and parents simply could not afford to pay for them.

“The current COVID-19 crisis and resulting impact, including the closing of schools for several months, has only exacerbated the fragility of these young peoples’ mental health and further driven a reliance on ‘screen time’ and social media through this period of forced isolation.

“Our outdoor learning programmes on the water are the antithesis to this and these children and young people will need UKSA now more than ever”.

The Education Policy Institute’s Education in England Annual Report 2019 found that, in England, young people eligible for the pupil premium were, on average, 18 months behind their peers in terms of academic attainment by the time they reached their GCSEs. In some places this gap was 24 months.

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Young people who have experienced violence in childhood or who have been involved with children’s services are also more likely to commit criminal offences (Hopkins, Webb & Mackie, 2010).

In addition, those young people considering their futures and approaching school leaving age have also been greatly affected. Youth unemployment is predicted to hit 1 million with many young people losing jobs and a reduction in the number opportunities available to theme (Resolute Foundation).

Research conducted by The Princes Trust during the March – July 2020 lockdown period reveals how more than a quarter of 16-to-25 year olds (29%) feel their future career prospects have already been damaged by the coronavirus pandemic, while 46% say that finding a job now feels “impossible”.

This is a significant increase compared with similar research conducted just five months ago. The current crisis may reduce the employment chances of lower-skilled young adults leaving education by more than a third, even years down the line.

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These findings, which highlight the debilitating impact that childhood disadvantage can have on outcomes in later life, are not acceptable. Action is needed to help to support these young people, equipping them with the resources they need to make successful transitions into adulthood and into employment.

Ben continues:

“UKSA’s Sea.Change Foundation programme is about ensuring we can be there for the 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.”

UKSA will be specifically targeting beneficiaries from right across the UK including:

  • Children and young people who may not otherwise be able to access maritime or outdoor adventure opportunities
  • Young people in need of confidence and life skills development to aid with transitions into adulthood (e.g into education, employment or general day-to-day life)
  • Young people at risk of exclusion from school
  • Young people who would benefit from an alternative learning environment
  • Young people who have an interest in a maritime career

The cost of the 5-day, 4-night, all-inclusive residential programme is £420 – however, depending on your individual situation, funding may be available to support your attendance on the course.

For more information, and to apply visit the UKSA website here.

Course dates:

  • 2nd – 6th August
  • 9th – 13th August
  • 17th- 21st August
  • 23rd – 27th August
  • 18th – 22nd October
  • 25th – 29th October

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