Being a mother doesn’t stop you being a Sailing Instructor

Ella Williams shows you can do both

Woman and her young daughter sat on side of boat in boat park looking out over boats moored up to pontoon on lake

RYA Instructor Ella Williams, was looking to get back into teaching sailing when the opportunity arose to attend a training day with the RYA. Initially unsure about attending, the decision to go along ended up being life-changing for Ella and her family.

Each year the RYA runs a series of CPD (continued professional development) events for instructors. The Regional Training Days are an opportunity to enhance and inspire your knowledge and practical skillset, offering a confidence-boosting refresher.

Ella attended with her four-month-old daughter River, and explains the difference it’s made:

“I had previously been working as a freelance instructor, but I hadn’t done any teaching since I was six months pregnant. I really wanted to prepare for the SI course, and others had told me about how there was no judgement in the CPD, and you could ask any questions you wanted to.

“I was so anxious beforehand – it felt a bit like imposter syndrome, and anything I did for myself made me feel like a bad mother. But everyone was so lovely, the coach was so accommodating, and having everyone’s perspective gave me so much confidence. I realised that there are many parents in this industry.

“My mum came to help while I was on the water, but when we did the debrief, River was in the classroom with me, and everyone was happy for her to be there.

“The CPD gave me huge confidence in an interview I had with a private school, and helped me to sell what I could do for the school. I was offered a position as Head of Sailing, conditional on my passing the SI course - which I then did, at the beginning of April.

“The CPD had been structured in a very similar way to the SI assessment, which was a big help. The job, teaching sailing to children from year 7 to the upper sixth, is part-time till September and then full-time when River can attend their nursery. It’s the perfect opportunity for me and I’ve got back into industry much quicker, and much higher up than I was before.

“It’s very hard to get a full-time position as a sailing instructor, but clearly having the baby has helped! I don’t think I’d have had the confidence to accept the position without the CPD day, and being able to discuss this situation with others.

“I’m a parent, even if I’m working – and probably a better parent, because I’m happier and the time I spend with River is more valuable. It’s not resentful parenting; she hasn’t ended my career. It’s a much happier bond.”

Find out more about becoming an RYA instructor and opportunities for CPD near you