Interview and story by Robyn Bardgett
The Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard programme in partnership with the Bermuda College Division of Professional & Career Education is a 7-week training course for Bermudian youth 16 and older to discover the vast career possibilities available in the maritime industry both in Bermuda and abroad. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, many of the cohorts that have graduated continue to find work and increase their skills in the industry.
Donavin Trott-Burchall has always loved taking part in activities on the water. From fishing to snorkeling, scuba diving, spearfishing and boating, he has spent his life enjoying time on the water. So it only felt right to consider pursuing a career that took in his love of the ocean.
“I felt that a maritime career would be a great choice for me,” says Mr Trott-Burchall, who is currently working with the newly formed Royal Bermuda Regiment Coast Guard as well as working on obtaining his pilot’s licence and additional Royal Yachting Association (RYA) qualifications. While taking part in the 2019 Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme, Mr Trott-Burchall achieved several internationally recognised maritime certifications such as the RYA Powerboat Level 2, RYA SRC Marine Radio Operator’s License and RYA Safety Boat, along with many others which have helped him work towards his goal.
While he has still been able to continue working towards his goals while on the island, Covid-19 has made it difficult to travel and experience the maritime industry overseas.
However, his time as one of the 2019 cohorts on the programme helped him to explore the many opportunities available just on the island in the industry. He’s now passionate about talking to people about his time in the Regiment and how his love for activities on the water has helped him to start a rewarding career.
“I encourage anyone that’s interested in activities on the water to pursue the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme, so that they can have a taste of being on the ocean and learn about the vast opportunities in the maritime sector.”
Although Cristian Roque has always been in the maritime industry, working a gap year at Spar Yard Marine Solutions Ltd. and spending time on the Spirit of Bermuda, he had never learned to sail a small dinghy. That all changed when he took part in the 2020 Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme.
“I absolutely love sailing now,” he says.
Not only did he learn how to sail a dinghy, he also picked up other invaluable skills and learned of all the opportunities available within the maritime industry in Bermuda.
“I learned captain skills and the safety skills I’ll need to go on and pursue my dream of sailing around the world,” he says. “When we went on site visits it really opened my eyes to how big the maritime industry is in Bermuda and where else I can go with these skills that we’ve gained.”
He has recently secured a new opportunity with Endeavour.
“It’s mind-blowing to think of how far I’ve come from starting in the Springboard programme to being an instructor and teaching students,” he says. “It’s an amazing experience. Not only just to work with Endeavour but to have a new passion. Because I’ve always loved the water and that’s truly been my passion but teaching youth and giving someone else the chance to do what I love is really rewarding and makes me feel great that I’m able to give back like that.”
And while learning to sail was one of the skills he picked up during the course it was only a part of what he took away from the training course.
“This course is really one of the best you can take if you want to be water savvy or just get into the maritime world,” he explains. “I can’t really find all of the words to describe it, but I wish everyone could do what I did through the course. And not just the sailing, sailing is just a part of it, but just being on the water, the connections, everything that you learn at Endeavour is going to help you. It can really change your life if you want it to.”
Matthew Stephens was part of the inaugural Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme when it was launched in 2018, and it has taken him as far as qualifying as a Bermudian ambassador onboard the Bermuda Tourism Authority Clipper Round the World Race yacht, Go To Bermuda.Despite the Clipper Round the World Race having to be postponed due to Covid-19, Mr Stephens took the skills he’d learned through the Springboard programme to apply for the ambassador position that consisted of rigorous training to prepare for the race of a lifetime. When the race eventually resumes next August, Mr Stephens will sail on Leg 7 of the race, which will take him from Seattle through the Panama Canal to New York.
“My entire family has always been involved in the maritime field, including my father who has competed in offshore races such as Newport to Bermuda,” says Mr Stephens, who is currently interning as a Programme Instructor at Endeavour. “I’ve had some obstacles with some failures I have encountered, but I have been able to pick myself up and get back on track quickly after a failure.”
The Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme provided him with a solid foundation with international qualifications that has made it easier to progress to the larger qualifications he’ll eventually need. His hope is to take these opportunities and pursue more competitive offshore sailing as well as acquiring the Yachtmaster Offshore certificate and join an ocean racing team to compete in ocean racing.
But while there have been obstacles this year, he still encourages people to get involved in the maritime industry.
“I hope to help promote different maritime courses and scholarships available to people on the island, as well as provide my own personal help. I’m always open to talk to someone on how they can get started or involved in the industry. It is the easiest way to travel the world – whether it be on a container ship as a deckhand or on a super yacht as a captain.”
The Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme is currently accepting applications for those interested in taking part in the 2021 cohort. Resumes and a cover letter can be submitted to by 5pm on November 12. Visit www.endeavour.bm to learn more.Back to News Archives
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