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UKSA seeks support to realise its ambition of helping 13,000 young people every year

Published on: 14 October 2021


UKSA has today launched a new video which highlights the rich and varied experiences on offer for young people and students at its Cowes campus on the Isle of Wight. The video aims to inspire and attract donations to realise its ambition of helping 13,000 young people every year, including 500 to complete its Sea.Change Foundation course.

In the video, Ben Willows, UKSA’s CEO, talks about the charity’s purpose which is to broaden the horizons of young people through water-based adventures and training for maritime careers at sea. This is teamed with an ambition of providing a pathway for children from deprived schools to complete residential visits to not only build confidence and life skills but also showcase the employment opportunities available to young people on the water.

Ben explains: “Our purpose is supported in two ways. Firstly, to extend our reach by widening access and increasing the amount of children that come on our residential school trips and secondly, by broadening our maritime career opportunities for students. Our Sea.Change Foundation course was born out of a need to bridge these two areas and to provide for young people who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to come and stay at UKSA and learn all about the Maritime sector and the fantastic funding, training and employment options that are available.

“We are continually investing in our facilities and offering to ensure the best experiences for every student who walks through the door. We have raised over £4m for our current building project offering state-of-the-art accommodation and facilities which is due for completion in 2022 and this will allow us to help a further 3,000 young people. During COVID we didn’t sit back and offered a new training centre online, purchased four new boats and refurbished much of the existing site and invested £5m on new shower blocks and infrastructure. We want to ensure this momentum continues to make a difference to as many young people as possible.”

The Sea.Change Foundation specifically is an inspirational programme that will provide 14–18-year-olds the opportunity to learn about training and careers in the maritime sector through a five-day residential trip over the school holidays.

Ben Willows, CEO of UKSA comments: “The Social Mobility Commission’s 2019 report ‘An Unequal Playing Field: Extra-Curricular Activities, Soft Skills and Social Mobility’ clearly demonstrates that participation in activities beyond the classroom has great added value in a child’s development. Not having access to or participating in these activities is a significant restraint on social mobility. At UKSA, our programmes offer a positive and enriching experience for young people, not only as positive educational outcomes but also offering the possibility for developing a wider set of skills beyond the qualifications obtained from school. 

He continues: “Our aim is to reach 500 young people per year on the Sea.Change programme but we are seeking support to realise our goal of making an impact on the lives of over 13,000 youngsters. So many children and young people were already missing out on life-changing opportunities because schools, local authorities and parents simply couldn’t afford to pay for them, and the pandemic has unfortunately only exacerbated this situation. Now, more than ever, programmes like the Sea.Change Foundation which help to prepare young people for the workplace are vital. A reduction in education, employment and training opportunities as a result of the pandemic will hit the most disadvantaged young people the hardest.”

For more information on UKSA, the Sea.Change Foundation, or imagery please contact Chloe Buchanan at the MTM Agency, via: