Written by Robyn Bardgett
The Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme connects Bermudian youth ages 16 and older with job readiness training, career exploration and networking opportunities to prepare them for working in the maritime sector, starting their career and building a better future for themselves.
Since the pilot programme in 2018, 54 Bermudians ages 16 to 35 years old have taken part in the Programme. Now, 70 percent of the participants are working in the maritime industry both here and abroad. Below three Endeavour Maritime Springboard Graduates share how their experience in the programme set them up for success.
Ruth Mello-Cann, 17, Student, Environmental Science and Sustainability at Brigham Young University
Ever since she was little, Ruth Mello-Cann would get “excited simply at the sight of the ocean” and she has dreamed of a life spent in the marine environment.
She has been a part of Endeavour since it was established in 2015, first as a Clearwater Middle School student in the Endeavour Middle School Programme, then furthering her skills as an Endeavour Graduate, and later becoming an Assistant Instructor. She gained coaching and leadership skills volunteering with Endeavour as an Assistant Instructor helping to teach younger students how to sail,, so when the opportunity came up to take part in the Maritime Springboard Programme earlier this year, she knew she had to continue to grow her passion in the industry even while juggling her final year at The Berkeley Institute.
“Staying connected with Endeavour has opened up so many doors for me which broadened my experience in the maritime industry,” Ms Mello-Cann says. “I wanted to explore different areas and discover my specific interests to help me choose a future career. The programme really gave me a boost in the industry…I earned qualifications that are recognised worldwide which can help me with my career internationally.”
After completing the programme earlier this year, Ms Mello-Cann took her newly honed sailing skills and qualifications including the Royal Yachting Association Dinghy Instructor to work as a sailing instructor with U Sail in Castle Harbour this summer. She is currently studying Environmental Science and Sustainability at Brigham Young University in Utah.
While she is uncertain about the path her career will take after graduating university, she says: “I do know for certain that I want to be involved as much as I can in the maritime industry and help share my passion for sailing and the ocean with the rest of the world in some way, shape or form.”
For those contemplating joining the Maritime Springboard Programme, she says, “It is a great opportunity to discover your interests whether it’s on the water or off the water. I personally would not be where I am today or have the experience or connections that I do if it weren’t for the Springboard programme.”
Dontae Butterfield, 21, Deckhand and Tour Boat Operator, K.S. Watersports
While attending West Pembroke as a primary student, Dontae Butterfield was never far from the water with the school situated so close to North Shore.
But it was a chance encounter with his neighbour, Cristian Roque, who had participated in the Maritime Springboard Programme in 2020 that solidified his path.
“Cristian would come home from the course and tell me how much fun he was having,” says Mr Butterfield. “He took me sailing and that one time sailing with Cristian and just throughout life growing up on an island and enjoying outdoor activities on the water and the thrill of being on the water that attracted me to apply for the programme.”
Mr Butterfield is currently working as a deckhand and tour boat operator for K.S. Watersports.
Much of what he learned in the programme has come back to help him in his current job.
“This job is very weather-based, and you can’t control the elements you have to work with what’s around you,” Mr Butterfield explains. “Even just how to read a weather app and what the wind and waves are doing and understanding the tides. Everything I learned on the course set me up for my job. Everything that was taught to me I’ve applied it ever since. Learning the operating of power boats, how the wind works, how to use the wind to your advantage – in the industry I’m in now that has been invaluable.”
Even outside of his desire for being “immersed in the maritime culture,” Mr Butterfield also found that the programme helped him to become more confident.
“I wasn’t a talkative person before I came to Endeavour but you have to speak in front of the class and there are a lot of opportunities where you have to speak. I now speak in front of 60-70 people on our tours and the programme helped build my confidence.
Mr Butterfield’s future plans include obtaining his captain’s licence and potentially working for SailGP.
“I’d like to use my skills to further my experience here and beyond,” he says.
To get the most out of the Springboard programme, Mr Butterfield encourages those who attend to thoroughly immerse themselves in the knowledge they can obtain from the course.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get yourself out there and network as much as possible,” he advises.
Jahshon Smith, 22, Endeavour Programme Instructor
The 2021 Maritime Springboard Programme was Jahshon Smith’s first experience on the water and he can now list Programme Instructor at Endeavour on his resume.
Bermuda College counsellor Lisa Latham brought the programme to Mr Smith’s attention when he was considering his career path.
His hope was to gain more insight into what careers were available in the maritime industry.
“The programme exceeded my expectations,” says Mr Smith. “It opened my eyes to many careers that I didn’t even know about, and showed me just how many opportunities there were for maritime careers on the island.”
While he’s now working for Endeavour as an instructor, he hopes to “continue in the industry and take advantage of the many opportunities it presents and travel the world doing the thing I enjoy.”
Even though Mr Smith had never considered a career in the maritime industry prior to the programme, he greatly benefited from the programme both in regards to learning about the maritime industry and furthering his career skills.
Those considering the programme should apply, “even if they have doubts about whether the maritime industry is something they’d like,” he says.
“The skills you learn, the connections and memories you make will greatly outweigh any doubt that you have. Even if you realise the industry isn’t for you, the things you learn in the programme will change your life and give you skills that are very transferable and beneficial to any career choice.”
Jennifer Pitcher, Endeavour’s Executive Director reports, “We are incredibly proud of all of the young Bermudians who have completed the Endeavour Maritime Springboard and all that they have accomplished as they pursue their goals and follow their dreams. This programme would not be possible without the generous support of Endeavour’s valued donors, partners and supporters. Special thanks to the Bermuda College for their partnership and our marine partners who are inspiring the next generation of Bermudian maritime professionals and sailors.
We are deeply grateful for the support from Endeavour’s lead founding partner Orbis, along with Arch Capital Group Ltd., PwC Bermuda, BF&M Ltd., Centennial Bermuda Foundation, and Ocean Wilsons Holdings Limited toward the continued success of this programme which helps ensure youth of all backgrounds across Bermuda are able to access the many opportunities it offers to benefit them for years to come.”
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Applications for the 2023 Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard programme close at 5 p.m. on Friday, November 4. For more information about the programme and applying, email .
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