£30,000 scholarship fund already having an impact


In 2018, Trinity House and the RYA teamed up to launch the Trinity House RYA Yachtmaster™ Scholarship, an exciting new initiative for those working, or aspiring to work in the small commercial vessel sector. Nearly two years on, the scholarship has seen grants awarded to 12 deserving individuals, aiding career progression through opportunities for further training.

As we approach the deadline for the next round of applications, we caught up with some of the previous grant recipients to find out just how far they’ve come...

Back to school

Lifelong-sailor, Suzie Taylor, was one of the first Trinity House RYA Yachtmaster™ Scholarship awardees. The ambitious 22-year-old, started her own business when she left school, teaching dinghy sailing, powerboating and working as a freelance deckhand on sailing yachts.

Keen to develop her career and forge a long-term future in the industry, Suzie has used the funds to complete her RYA Yachtmaster™ Offshore Theory and STCW qualifications. She hopes to complete further training in preparation for her RYA Yachtmaster™ Offshore practical examination, with a view to becoming an RYA Cruising Instructor, teaching and working on larger commercial vessels.

“Career-wise, it’s been a bit of a jump. I’ve gone from dinghies and powerboats, where I’m comfortable and confident, right ‘back to school’ learning the RYA Yachtmaster™ syllabus. I’m unbelievably grateful - it’s already helped me develop my career, earn more money and opened up doors that were closed to me just last summer,” says Suzie.

“For anyone thinking of applying for a grant, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain – the world is your oyster!”

Global ambition

19-year-old, Louis Day developed a passion for the water whilst growing up powerboating with his family on the Lymington River. Now working as Bosun for an RYA recognised training centre on the Solent, Louis says he wouldn’t be where he is today, if it weren’t for the funding he received through the Trinity House RYA Yachtmaster™ Scholarship.

“I currently work in a small team of engineers, maintaining a fleet of approximately 30 boats,” says Louis. “I’ve also developed a real love for passing my skills onto others through teaching RYA Powerboat courses for the same company on the weekends.”

In the year since receiving the grant, Louis has achieved his RYA Powerboat Advanced Certificate of Competence and completed the RYA Yachtmaster™ Offshore theory and RYA Coastal Skipper Sail courses, all funded by the scholarship. He plans to complete the STCW basic safety training and is also studying for a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Marine Engineering.

“Working through the qualifications gives you real drive and motivation to get out on the water, build your experience and to keep progressing,” explains Louis. “Not only has the scholarship increased my value to my employer, its opened more doors for me and has also grown my love for my work as I find myself in more and more interesting positions and situations.”

With the experience he’s gained, Louis believes he’s in a good position to continue his maritime career. “Once all the funded courses are completed, my plan is to continue with my instructing career, whilst also building experience to qualify as an RYA Yachtmaster™ Motor and Sail. I’m looking forward to exploring the opportunities available to me within the industry and all over the world.”

Colder climes

Based near Oban on the West Coast of Scotland, Sarah Reed is a Marine Biologist, turned technician and is currently working as the Ship’s Operation Manager for the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS). Her career has seen her work all over the world, conducting scientific research in both the Arctic and Antarctic.

Before joining SAMS, Sarah was based at the Rothera Research Station, with the British Antarctic Survey. During her time there, she skippered and crewed the RIBS for various professional scientific dives and surveys as the team conducted oceanography and sea ice dives.

A lover of the outdoors, Sarah enjoys spending time out in the mountains or building her sailing hours on the Sadler 25 yacht that was her home when she first moved to Oban. Keen to progress her career in the marine industry, she applied for the grant and was awarded funds in May 2019. She says: “I love living and working on the West Coast of Scotland, for some reason I seem to be drawn to cold places! I would love to go back and work in the Polar Regions where I can really test my skillset and build on the knowledge that I have been working on over the last few years.”

With the scholarship funding, Sarah has already completed the RYA Radar and RYA Professional Practices and Responsibilities courses. She’s also gained her RYA Powerboat Advanced Certificate of Competence and is planning to do a prep week for the RYA Yachtmaster™ Coastal this year, with aspirations to build her experience and qualify as an RYA Yachtmaster™ Offshore in the future. “The scholarship has massively improved my career progression and prospects within the marine industry. I’m building my experience to crew and skipper the vessels we have here at SAMS,” she explains.

“It’s good to remember that within the world of working on the water, there are lots of different paths you can take – it’s not just the military or superyachts!” says Sarah. “There’s everything from commercial skippering on wildlife survey boats, to working on fish farms, dive boats and many more. The industry is growing in so many different sectors and if you love working outside, within dynamic teams and testing your skills in all sorts of weather conditions, then this is definitely a great career-building scholarship.”

It could be you

Maritime charity Trinity House, has committed to providing an annual sum of £30,000, to be distributed by the Trinity House/RYA selection panel, amongst a number of carefully selected potential skippers. The aim of this funding is to assist applicants in getting the qualifications needed to pursue, or further their careers.

The next round of applications will close on Monday 02 March 2020. For more information, eligibility, selection criteria and applications visit www.rya.org.uk/go/TrinityHouse.