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Connecting Bermudian Youth with Maritime Opportunities

15 Dec 2021

Endeavour, a registered charity and non-profit that engages diverse youth across Bermuda in experiential learning that builds their confidence and life skills, partners with the Bermuda College Professional and Career Education (PACE) Division to provide young Bermudians with training and career development opportunities that prepare them for working in the maritime sector.

The Endeavour Maritime Springboard Programme is a seven-week career development initiative that equips Bermudian youth ages 16 and older who are seeking employment and interested in a maritime career with training opportunities and maritime career connections.

Endeavour welcomed 11 young Bermudians ages 16-35 years old for the 2021 programme which took place from mid-January to the end of February 2021. Each candidate has their own unique career goals with a common interest to work in the maritime industry and take part in the Endeavour Maritime Springboard Programme to develop new skills, qualifications and knowledge.

A Commencement Ceremony was held on Wednesday, December 8th to celebrate the achievements of the young Bermudians who represent the 2021 cohort. The Honourable Jason Hayward, JP, MP, Minister of Labour presented certificates to each participant joined by Endeavour Board member, Dr. Melvyn Bassett, and Ralph Richardson who presented candidates with a signed copy of his book, The Bermuda Boater. 

2021 Springboard Cohort at the National Museum Queen’s Exhibition Hall

Minister Jason Hayward said, “I was delighted to congratulate this year’s Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard graduates as they all displayed great commitment and development. I would like to thank the Endeavour team, the Bermuda College, and the other participating organisations for their commitment to enriching the lives of our youth. The Ministry of Labour remains dedicated to supporting Endeavour and we look forward to their expansion and greater impact on our community.”

Endeavour is grateful to the National Museum of Bermuda for generously hosting the 2021 Endeavour Maritime Springboard Commencement Ceremony at the Museum’s exquisite Queen’s Exhibition Hall. Special thanks also to Fourways Catering and Gosling’s Ltd. who supported the special occasion with canapés and refreshments, as well as Great Sound Lighting & AV who kindly supported the event.

Tristan Loescher, Endeavour’s West Programme Manager comments, “We are very proud of the achievements of all of the Springboard participants. It has been remarkable to watch how far they have come as a result of their hard work and commitment throughout the seven weeks. Each participant has emerged with a new set of skills, knowledge and experience that will benefit them in their future endeavours whether or not they pursue a maritime career. We wish them the very best and can hardly wait to see what their future holds!”

Springboard Grad, 20-year-old Dontae Butterfield said, “It was such an eye-opening experience for me to participate in the Endeavour Maritime Springboard Programme. I was amazed to learn how many different career pathways exist in the maritime industry. I am thankful for the opportunity to participate as I learned a lot of new skills and developed connections that have helped me to secure a job working in the maritime industry. ”

Springboard Grad, 17-year-old Sari Smith comments, “I applied to participate in the programme as I was excited after hearing about the positive experience that my brother had who is also a graduate of the programme. I learned so much about the different maritime careers. It was amazing to see the fellowship develop amongst the participants who started the programme without knowing each other but who built a mutual trust and friendship during the programme. It really showed me a lot about the meaning of teamwork as we worked together and supported each other along the way in order to achieve our goals.”

The diversity of maritime careers means there is something for everyone with any kind of interest and represents all fields related to the ocean including yachts – sailing or power vessels used for pleasure, cruising or racing, ships – large watercraft for transporting people or goods by sea, navigation, seafarers, ocean engineering, oceanography, and many other related activities. 

A key goal of the Endeavour Maritime Springboard Programme is to expose young Bermudians to different maritime career pathways through interactive career site visits that build their network, increase their awareness of education and career opportunities and prepare them to be successful in their job search. 

Endeavour’s marine partners support the programme by sharing invaluable knowledge and their own unique experiences with youth participants to expand awareness of the wide range of maritime career opportunities.

Jennifer Pitcher, Endeavour’s Community Engagement, Development & Partnerships Manager states, “We are thankful for the organisations and industry professionals who supported this year’s programme: 

Bermuda Coast Guard – Sergeant Sean Wheatley and Captain Jeff Patterson
Bermuda Yacht Services – Mark Soares
BIOS – Kaitlin Noyes and Tim Noyes
Department of Marine & Ports Services – Chamaigne Dill and Maquel Bailey
K.S. Watersports – Kevin Sousa
Ocean Sails – Steve Hollis
SailGP – Molly Riihiluoma & 2018 Springboard Grad Matthew Stephens
Spar Yard Marine Solutions Ltd. – Chris Roque, Mark Goodwin and 2019 Springboard Grad Kris Cameron
Spirit of Bermuda – Lauren Yelle-Simmons, Captain Alex Peacock and the Spirit of Bermuda Crew
The Bermuda Boat Author – Ralph Richardson
Waterstart – JP Skinner

One hundred percent of Springboard graduates have reported an increased confidence and an enhanced awareness of maritime opportunities as a result of their participation in the programme. 

Since the pilot programme was offered in 2018, 41 Bermudian youth representing different interests and career goals have benefited from their engagement in the programme. We are thrilled to see so many of the young Bermudians who have completed the programme now working in the maritime industry including those who have joined the Endeavour team!”

James Harris, Endeavour’s Operations Manager states, “Another benefit of the hands-on training offered through the programme is the opportunity to achieve Royal Yachting Association (RYA) qualifications which are recognised around the world. This set of qualifications help young Bermudians build a foundation for a future maritime career. Some of the RYA qualifications that were offered include: RYA Sailing Level 1 and 2, RYA Powerboat Level 2, RYA Seamanship, RYA Essential Navigation, RYA First Aid, RYA Safe & Fun Safeguarding, and RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate (SRC).

Due to COVID-19 there was a requirement for smaller group sizes so the 2021 cohort was divided into two groups for the training activities; with each group assigned to one of Endeavour’s two Forts – Endeavour East kindly hosted by the Bermuda Sea Cadets in St. George’s and Endeavour West in the Royal Naval Dockyard. 

The RYA Dinghy Instructor Award is another qualification that has been offered in previous years, however due to the protocols implemented as a result of the pandemic, it was not possible to facilitate in 2021. Endeavour is working closely with the RYA with the aim to offer spots for those interested from the 2021 cohort in the New Year during the 2022 programme.”

The hands-on training offered is customised to the individual learning needs of each participant to maximise development of their unique skills and knowledge. This is notable given that there is no requirement for prior on-water experience which accounts for many Springboard participants. While completing the sailing and powerboating courses, participants also develop skills including teamwork, communication, presentation training and problem solving. 

Participants also learn best practices to improve their resumes, as well as create action plans for their job search and career planning through interactive workshops that prepare them for future success. 

Karen Smith, Bermuda College PACE Programme Coordinator explains, “The partnership that Bermuda College and Endeavour have established over the past 4 years exemplifies the impact of collaboration.  By pooling our resources, we have been able to expose young Bermudians to a myriad of maritime careers along with offering an experiential learning platform.”

Mrs. Pitcher adds, “We are proud to partner with the Bermuda College PACE Division toward the continuing success of the Endeavour Maritime Springboard Programme. We are grateful to all of Endeavour’s donors for their unwavering support of Endeavour’s work that enables us to create a positive impact in the lives of young people across our Island. We are especially thankful for the support from lead founding partner Orbis, as well as the Centennial Bermuda Foundation, and the Bermuda Sailing Association enabling us to offer bursaries for youth participants to improve access to the programme. 

We look forward to welcoming the next cohort in January 2022.” 

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