Carmarthenshire student lands dream apprenticeship on a luxury superyacht (21 April 2014)

Connor Jones is following in the footsteps of his elder brother Jordan, 21, who has worked extensively all over Europe.

Connor Jones on a yacht in the Mediterranean as part of his superyacht training course
Life is a breeze for a Welsh student who has landed a dream job on a luxury 35m superyacht based in the South of France as part of an unusual apprenticeship.
Connor Jones, 18, from Llangain, Carmarthenshire, has just completed the first six month phase of the revered superyacht cadetship course run by sail training charity UKSA (formerly known as the UK Sailing Academy).
It aims to establish him in a role as a professional deckhand cruising the Mediterranean over the next nine months as phase two of the course.
And it could lead to a lucrative and exciting career on superyachts.
What’s more, Connor is following in the footsteps of his elder brother Jordan, 21, who started the UKSA cadetship in 2010 and has since worked extensively all over Europe on four different superyachts as part of the course.
Connor said: “It’s amazing and I’m really enjoying it. In fact, just a week in they’ve asked me to take on more responsibility and perform more of a First Mate role, so I’ll be doing a transition exam shortly, which is a brilliant opportunity to prove myself and get even more valuable experience under my belt.”
His mother Andrea said: “It’s a steep learning curve for Connor but he seems to be relishing it and we’re really pleased for him.
“Jordan’s experiences on the cadetship course obviously caught Connor’s attention, but they also opened our eyes up to the potential of the superyacht industry, the variety of experiences possible, plus the money they can earn and save from an early age.
“The training at UKSA is highly professional and we’ve been very impressed, plus the staff are also very friendly, supportive and extremely caring – a mix that we firmly believe has helped our sons achieve the success they have.
“I always thought they might end up working at sea, because my husband Billy was in the Royal Navy and they started sailing at an early age during family holidays on the French Riviera.
“They both got their powerboat qualification very young and this love of the water and sailing continued on the nearby Tywi estuary growing up.
“But I never dreamed they’d forge a career working on luxury superyachts.”
Connor said: “My parents have given us brilliant support down the years and dad in particular with his background has been a very positive influence, instilling a passion and respect for the sea from a young age and giving us confidence in our own abilities and to apply for the cadetship.”
A spokesman for UKSA said: “The three-year super yacht apprenticeship is based at UKSA’s Isle of Wight headquarters and is an option for those considering vocational training over the traditional university career path. It allows students to ‘earn while they learn’ and they can easily graduate debt-free because of what amounts to some two years of paid work placements.
“Students like Connor can typically earn €2,000 a month tax free (not including tips) as entry level deckhands and almost all their living costs are covered by the yacht, too.”
UKSA is a youth education and sail training charity founded by MFI entrepreneur Noel Lister in 1987.
He wanted youngsters from all backgrounds to have the chance of experiencing adventures at sea and learning how to sail.

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