“The grant has opened up a whole new sector of work that a couple of years ago I would never have dreamed of going for,” explains RYA Instructor, Sarah Bagley who has been working in the watersports industry for more than ten years.
“I started off teaching windsurfing and then progressed into teaching in dinghies. Over the years I have built up my qualifications and now work as a freelance instructor for both the RYA and various other centres around Pembrokeshire.”
Since being awarded a training grant through the Trinity House RYA Yachtmaster Scholarship, Sarah has completed the RYA Sea Survival course, RYA Marine Radio (SRC) course and exam, as well as completing the RYA Coastal Skipper/Yachtmaster Offshore Theory course and passing the RYA Yachtmaster® Offshore Certificate of Competence exam.
“I applied because I wanted to upskill to bigger boats,” she explains. “Trying to get qualifications so that in the winter I could get a little bit more work rather than just teaching windsurfing.
“I don’t think I would have had the capital behind me to go ahead and do those courses, so it’s really helped me and pushed me to do them.”
Since gaining her qualifications, Sarah has opened her own watersports centre in Pembrokeshire, Wales and says without the scholarship she wouldn’t have had the confidence or the transferable skills to get the centre started on her own.
“Having these qualifications has really helped me progress in the industry, creating broader job opportunities, particularly in the winter months when most windsurfing and dinghy work comes to a halt,” continued Sarah.
“I’d recommend applying for the scholarship because it’s an amazing opportunity to get qualifications that you might not be able to afford yourself and it just gives you that confidence to go for it.
“Once you’ve got that scholarship it makes you think ‘I can do this’. For anyone thinking about applying, go for it! This is a great opportunity to kick start your career within the marine industry.”
Applications for the Trinity House RYA Yachtmaster Scholarship are accepted on a rolling basis, with interviews being held every six months.