This summer marks a time of expansion for the Rhode Island Marine Trade Association's workforce training programs. RIMTA expanded the number of Summer Boatbuilding Programs being run throughout the state and ran a pilot program for Rhode Islanders who want to work on luxury superyachts.
Those who participated in the new Superyacht Crew Training Program, run in partnership with Sarah Baines of Ship to Shore crew-placement agency, graduated from the four-week course on June 22 at the Newport Charter Yacht Show.
Students were given an introduction to the skills and lifestyle of the charter industry and gained hands-on experience on yachts –from a Gunboat 62 to megayachts built by Cantieri Navali Lavagna and Palmer Johnson. Many students will move on to take a Standard Training Certification and Watching course before looking for a live-aboard job for the fall and winter seasons.
According to RIMTA's Workforce Development Coordinator Brian Dursi, this pilot program has been a success all around – based on feedback from captains and instructors who worked with students as well as feedback from the students themselves who were able to discover new ways to transfer their talents in hospitality, retail and recreation to careers in an exciting, new-to-them industry.
"Rhode Island has such a wealth of resources for megayachts--from world class destinations and first-rate marine facilities to crew-placement agencies, professional mariner educational providers, and a wealth of technical expertise and charter brokers. This program completes the picture as a first step in making Rhode Island a training hub to cultivate the yacht crews who can help fuel this segment of the industry," said Dursi.
The program was free to students, thanks to funding from Real Jobs Rhode Island. Those who trained students included Sarah Baines of Ship-to-Shore, Eddie Persichetti of Confident Captain Ocean Pros, Winnie DeCoster of Boat Nanny, professional chef Leann Davulis, and captains and crews of the yachts students interned on.
The graduation at the Charter Yacht Show is the first of many for RIMTA summer programs. The organization has expanded to five Summer Boatbuilding Programs for 14- to 16-year-olds; they are being run in Bristol, Newport, North Providence and Tiverton.