Superyacht Crew: Prepare for your future today. Why your CoC’s could be the key to accessing a career-enhancing maritime sustainability degree qualification.
Are you a superyacht crew member thinking about your future?
There comes a point in your career when you start to wonder, what next? It could be that feeling that you are nearing the end of your time in the industry or have recently completed your OOW, Chief Mates or Masters or simply you are settled in your career and having achieved a rotational position, you are interested in committing to some professional development.
For most, after the time, cost and blood, sweat and tears of achieving your CoC’s, you could be forgiven for feeling very glad to see the back of any further study. But for many, once the euphoria of achievement dies away, there is often a feeling of a need to keep moving forward and building on your knowledge and skillset. There is also the question of how, when the time comes, to translate your experience and qualifications gained in the superyacht sector into a meaningful and successful future career ashore.
However, it’s not simple, committing to any kind of study or professional development is difficult when you work in an environment where operational schedules and the demands of the yacht’s owner are so liable to change. There is also the human factor, will you have the time, energy and concentration levels to apply yourself to a study programme? When it comes to a degree, for many crew it can seem completely out of reach, giving up your career to attend university would entail a huge loss of earnings and investment in course fees and accommodation. Combine this with one simple factor – most crew quite wrongly don’t consider themselves particularly academic, and you have a series of barriers that might seem insurmountable.
Where THE OM come in
It is for all these reasons that after 12 years working at sea as a yachty, and 20 years developing and delivering superyacht training and mentoring, I set up my company THE OM, to address the need for crew to find pathways and solutions to achieve success in their professional lives, and for the industry itself to develop new strategies to evolve as an innovative, sustainable and equitable place to be.
With this in mind, The OM has forged a partnership with MLA College in Plymouth (part of the BAU Global International University Group and a partner of Plymouth University) to help promote and develop their degree level and professional development programs, designed for superyacht crew who wish to educate themselves beyond the limits of their professional qualifications.
MLA has developed a final year BSc (Hons) degree and MSc programme in Sustainable Maritime Development, designed to be accessible and completely flexible around the complex working lives of maritime professionals and in particular, superyacht crew. With sustainability a subject area of huge importance in all aspects of the industry, combined with the colleges’ close links with the United Nations and its sustainability goals, the course also represents an ideal stepping stone for crew to take their onboard experience to something more tangible in shore-based employment. If you have an existing HNC, HND or FdSc qualification then the application is straightforward.
This year, we have taken this a step further, based on my experience of so many of the crew I work with, I knew that the programmes we had designed were still out of reach to a huge section of those we were trying to help. I believe very strongly that there should be no barriers to learning, superyacht crew have extraordinary jobs, with pressures and responsibilities rarely encountered in more “normal” shore-based employment. So many of the senior crew that I have trained went straight into the industry at 18, and although having achieved career success do not consider themselves “academic”. We, therefore, needed to value the experiential learning and CoC’s of non-academically qualified crew and create a unique access route to Higher Education study. We are therefore now able to accept applications based on CoC’s and individual’s professional and life experience as a viable alternative for crew who do not have the benefit of post eighteen education.
Currently, this ground-breaking opportunity is open to any crew member who has achieved their OOW/Chief Mate/Masters CoC, Engineering Officers are also welcome to apply. With three entry points a year, and several options for payment including a student loan, it provides options for crew to develop their life and professional skillsets, empowering them to real excellence in their onboard roles, whilst gaining valuable careers beyond the industry when that time comes.
At superyacht content, we provide a wealth of resources to crew members to help with career progression. You can find more here.