24th October 2018

This summer a selected group of South Devon Marine Academy FdSc first year Yacht Operation students gained an opportunity they’ll never forget, heading to the beautiful Greek islands of the Sporades for a season long work placement.

In partnership with Sailing Holidays Ltd, the UK’s largest independent sailing holiday company, the students first applied then went through a vigorous interview process before heading to islands. After learning their initial sailing skills on the River Dart, the students abilities were soon put to test by joining an already busy crew part-way through their peak season.

South Devon Marine Academy Yacht Operations first year students

Working together in the fast moving environment, the crew were constantly thinking on their feet and adjusting to the ever-changing sailing conditions. Learning key technical, client communication and engineering skills the students thrived throughout the duration of their placement gaining exceptional feedback from the organisers at Sailing Holidays.

Spokesperson for Sailing Holiday said, “We have been massively impressed by the attitude of the South Devon College students that we took on over the summer. We look for two key attributes when people work with us, personality and a strong work ethos and all of the students more than lived up to these standards. Our seasons are hard work, and working through to the end of the season requires some real determination. This was a hugely successful pilot, the students that came with us are great ambassadors for the College and as a company Sailing Holidays is extremely excited about where this relationship could lead, and we hope to see many more students out in Greece!”

The students visit has been warmly received by all involved, and they’ve already been invited back for more of the same next summer, with the team at Sailing Holidays on the search for more aspiring sailors, boat builders and engineers from South Devon Marine Academy Yacht Operations and Marine Technologies courses.

When asked about his experience in Greece, student Henry Bradbury (20 from Paignton) said, “The whole experience is one I’ll never forget. At times we were faced with many challenges and had to pull together as a team. For two weeks we were sail training in the Sporades, an area of Greek islands where usually only the highest skilled qualified sailors operate within”.

Fellow crew member and student Billy Milner (21 from Crediton) adds, “Throughout the whole placement I was constantly developing new abilities and skills. I also stepped up to role as Skipper for the first time, giving me further confidence to one day exceed within the sailing industry”.

Yacht Operations student William ‘Billy’ Milner

The success of the Yacht Operations students is just the latest story in what’s an exciting time for South Devon College with the work already underway on the new £17 million Hi-Tech and Digital Centre, and further plans for development of the NOSS South Devon Marine Academy as part of Premier Marinas £75 million future expansion project.

Assistant Principal Hi-Tech and Digital Steve Caunter said, “We are ever thankful for the recent collaboration with Sailing Holidays in providing the College’s Yacht Operations students with a fantastic work experience opportunity, helping them gaining invaluable practical skills and working towards future employability opportunities in the yacht sector. Our agreement with Sailing Holidays is just the latest action of the College’s wider international development strategy, whilst continuing to support people progressing into employment and better jobs.

To find out more about wide variety of courses the university offers, visit our next Information Evening on Thursday 8th November, 4:30pm-7pm at the Vantage Point Campus, Long Road, Paignton, TQ4 7EJ. Alternatively, you can call 08000 21 31 81  or email [email protected]

For more information about this story please contact Guy Marsden, Marketing & Communications Officer at [email protected] or on 01803 540563.

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