Apprentices ready to ride career wave at Oyster

Published: 26th August 2021

Published by City College Southampton

Six marine apprentices are about to set sail on their career journey as they embark on intensive training with prestigious bluewater sailing yacht builder Oyster Yachts in collaboration with City College Southampton.

Over the next four years, Cameron Mcleod, Ewan Clark and Luke Richardson will learn the craft of boat building and Ewan Pett, Michaela Dumapit and Darcie Lawson will be training as marine engineering apprentices with the bespoke yacht builder’s new Oyster Academy, based at Saxon Wharf in Southampton.

Ewan Pett, from Romsey, said “I’ve been into sailing from the age of two and really wanted a chance to develop my interest in the marine industry. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity with Oyster and City College Southampton to work in a hands-on environment and learn from the expert team at Oyster.”

Michaela Dumapit, from New Milton, added: “I studied for my Level Two Marine Engineering qualification at another college but then wanted to work with real boats, so the Oyster Academy will allow me to develop professionally.” 

All the new apprentices are looking forward to learning new skills and progressing within the marine industry under the experienced tutelage of the boat builders, engineers and workforce at Oyster, while studying Marine Technology part-time with us.

The college’s partnership with Oyster Yachts has been running successfully over a number of years but the launch of the Oyster Academy during National Apprenticeship Week in February has fuelled the initiative.

The Oyster Academy was established to build for the future, to ensure traditional skills and craftsmanship are developed and nurtured through the ‘next generation’ of dedicated apprentices. There is a rigorous selection process - from 160 applicants this year, the best 15 (six in Southampton and nine in Wroxham - which is Oyster’s other boat build facility) were chosen to be supported in their professional and personal development.

The Oyster Academy supports our curriculum while providing the essential ‘in -house’ training for apprentices’ in the workplace. The apprentices will work alongside skilled employees covering the core boat build trades during their four years, learning everything from basic hand tool skills, to fitting out the finest bluewater sailboats, to bespoke designs for customers to sail around the world.

The Academy also gives its trainees the opportunity to run their own community scheme, ‘Project Pinocchio’. The project produces small wooden toys for children who are being cared for in playgroups and other local organisations. The new apprentices learn valuable hand skills and recycle unwanted wood from Oyster, whilst creating enjoyable toys for the community and helping to reduce production waste.   

There are five existing marine apprentices already training for their future careers at Oyster’s Southampton site - trainee boat builders Benjamin Fryer and Josh Boneham, and marine engineering trainees Oliver Moore, Oliver Rose and Sasha Capelli. They too are benefiting from the on-the-job training at Oyster and education at our specialist Marine Skills Centre.

Oyster Training and Development Officer Bazil Figura said: “Oyster is a world class designer, builder and supporter of the finest bluewater sailing yachts and we are proud to be bringing on board the best apprentices through our Oyster Academy to ensure that the company’s future continues to flourish with real craftsmen and engineers at the helm.

“We welcome the collaboration with City College Southampton in providing the best possible training programme for the marine industry apprentices.”

City College Southampton Principal Sarah Stannard said: “We really value our long-term partnership with Oyster Yachts in working together to train people with the technical skills that the marine industry needs. 

“At City College, we pride ourselves on working closely with employers to understand what is important to them and providing the best technical training for our apprentices and our students that launches them successfully into their chosen careers.”


Photo shows Michaela and Ewan outside of Oyster.