Written by The Royal Gazette Lifestyle Editor Heather Wood
If you’re interested in a maritime career, the Endeavour Maritime Springboard programme is likely the best way forward without leaving the island.
It offers internationally-recognised qualifications and hands-on training, to students over the age of 16 and young adults looking to switch their line of work.
The deadline to sign up for the next group is Friday, November 4th. The seven-week intensive kicks off in January.
“The programme is really a springboard. It allows you to have different opportunities and do different things in the maritime industry,” said MaLahku Selassie.
The 19-year-old finished the course in 2022 and is now a full-time intern instructor with Endeavour, working mainly with middle school students. He also works as a deckhand on a catamaran, Rising Son.
“It’s just a really good programme to kick you off and get you involved; the first step in a career,” MaLahku added.
He had an “on and off” interest in sailing and was studying marine science at Bermuda College when someone told him about an information session Endeavour was about to hold.
“I managed to get in and I decided to give it a try and see what it’s like. The certifications it offered were very attractive to me and kind of re-sparked a passion I didn’t really know I had. It looked really fun and I hadn’t sailed in so long so it was a little break from concentrating on serious school.
“I really like to get out and be active and so it was perfect for me.”
Equally important was that, with the help of industry partners such as Spirit of Bermuda, Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo and Bermuda Coast Guard, the programme gave an overarching experience that opened a pathway for career options.
“I was looking at travelling, possibly leaving Bermuda at some point to maybe do some crossings, teaching in other places. I’m also considering a bunch of courses I want to do; just allow myself to do other things. I’m not planning on a particular career pathway right now, but I’m trying to do as much as I can so I have that ability once it comes up.”
Nijanae Pemberton, a 16-year-old student at CedarBridge Academy, started sailing as part of the Endeavour Middle School Programme.
She continued with the Endeavour Graduate Programme and, a few years ago, trained as an assistant instructor. In the years since she has coached younger students in the Graduate Programme and completed the Maritime Springboard Programme this year.
“I kept going back as they invited me back. And then when I was 15, they invited me to become an assistant instructor. And I really enjoyed that. It was really a time to still do the sailing but also learn the new teaching aspects for it.
“I didn’t really know what was next until one of the other coaches that worked with Endeavour told me about the Springboard Programme and I was so interested in it; I was so hyped for it.”
Even though she has decided a maritime career isn’t in her future, she believes it was “an awesome experience”. “It has led me to so many things. It gives you connections to a lot of marine industries and careers. Even though that’s not really the direction that I want to go in. When I grow up, I want to be a film director and I think I can incorporate the water and the camera work together.”
“[The experience] also has given me the leadership skills that I use today [as] a prefect. I’m also applying to be head girl here at CedarBridge; I’m really trying to use all the skills that the Springboard Programme has given me in my everyday life.”
Seventeen-year-old Eli Furbert is also a graduate of the 2022 Endeavour Maritime Springboard Programme and an intern instructor at Endeavour.
He’d first applied to be part of the 2021 cohort. It had been four years since he’d sailed and at 15, he was too young for the Springboard Programme, but signed up anyway.
“I didn’t get in then and when the 2022 application came out I did. It’s probably one of the best decisions I’ve made.
“It really boosts you to a next level in terms of what you’re able to do in the maritime industry. It’s really opened up a pathway for so much more things.”
As far as next steps, he is considering “maritime academies in the US – in Texas and Florida”.
The 2022 Endeavour Maritime Springboard Programme was “the largest cohort” in its five-year history, with 14 students instead of the typical 10 to 12, said Danielle Frith, Endeavour’s Community Engagement Coordinator.
“We have over 50 graduates and the majority of them are in the maritime industry in different ways. We have people who are working for SailGP; we have people who are working for the Department of Marine & Ports, as well as Endeavour, of course. So we have quite a few alumni involved in the maritime industry, which is great to see.
“Generally it is a springboard, it’s a step up in the right direction. We have some people who are now at college, focusing on [their studies there] but still utilising some of the skills they learnt with us. It’s a great opportunity to get the qualifications for really good summer jobs as well as part-time jobs while continuing your education.”
The aim is to keep the number of participants below 15 due to our safety ratios. And while students must be at least 16 to join, there isn’t a set cap on the age limit.
“We’ve had a 30-year-old in the programme,” Ms Frith said. “So anybody looking to change careers, this is a great opportunity as well. We have great marine partners so we try to get out to those different organisations that offer exposure into the different maritime career pathways.”
“It is a seven-week intensive programme, Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm and it’s hands-on maritime career-building. It offers basic safety training that is mandatory for any yacht work – if you want to be a deckhand; it’s a good starter for anyone who wants to be a captain or anything like that.”
People who complete the course meet the standards of the Royal Yachting Association and have their qualifications recognised in such things as “sailing seamanship, power boating, radio and first aid”.
“On top of that we are getting a lot of time on the water,” Ms Frith said. “We’re getting to visit about a dozen career sites. And that’s to expand the participants’ knowledge of the maritime careers and the opportunities and build those networks.”
She continued: “At the same time we’re also building general knowledge, we’re resume-building; we work on public speaking. It is a very intensive programme that takes a lot of hard work but we have great instructors, who help make it a great process for the people involved.”Back to News Archives
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