Like most of you, I’ve been confined to my home for a few weeks and have found a way to “work from home” while my 2.5 year old son tears around the apartment. (This post took me a little longer to write than expected 😉
Some of you may know that I run a deckhand training school in Cape Town in combination with my duties as Director of YOA yacht crew and I wanted to take some time to discuss some of the questions I’ve been asked lately, namely:
– Is it worth doing courses when the schools open up again?
– Am I going to have a chance to find work as a ‘greenie’ when the borders open?
– Do agencies care about inexperienced crew and can they help me?
Of course there are many more where these came from, but after watching the recent ‘she of the sea’ webinar, I feel compelled to add my two cents-worth.
1- Is it worth doing courses when the schools open up again?
This refers to entry-level crew who are considering completing their PB2’s, Yachtmaster, etc. My answer is a resounding YES, but be honest about your expectations.
Doing courses to improve your knowledge and adding skills is always valuable. Not only will it build your confidence in your abilities, but it is also viewed favourably by employers reviewing your CV because you are able to tick more boxes in terms of safe manning requirements etc.
The truth is that more qualified you are, the more value you add to the boat and the higher your salary can be.
We have a constant demand for crew with ‘unique’ skills such as personal trainers, yoga instructors, massage therapists, kite board instructors, carpenters, etc. So while you may be stuck at home, there’s nothing stopping you from up skilling by working on some overdue carpentry/ varnishing the outside furniture, doing home improvement projects (I certainly have) or brushing up on your navigation, col-regs, service, barista skills and the like. Yes, my hospital corners are on point and I can still fold a mean towel.
2- Am I going to have a chance to find work as a ‘greenie’ when the borders open?
Like most things in life this mostly comes down to you. How willing are you to make the effort to get up early, get on a bus/train or bicycle, dock-walk, network and put in the time to update your CV, keep your profile on crew agencies websites active/current and check in with them regularly?
Yes, looking for work is a full time job in itself, but no one is forcing you to do it. While some undoubtedly have a harder time getting to the yachting hubs, sorting out your visas, accommodation and budgets can all be done before you go. Make the most of this time to get as much in place as possible so you can hit the ground running when the time comes.
You may be new to yachting but everyone has something unique to offer and we encourage crew to play to their strengths and highlight them by promoting themselves on the YOA platform.
One of our core beliefs as a company is that no one cares more than you do about you finding a job so take matters into your own hands as much as you can by promoting yourself as your own agent. Get yourself out there! Why not make and post a short video intro on your profile where you can actually speak to the people you’ll be living with so they get a sense of who you are right off the bat?
We all start somewhere but you can give yourself the best possible start by doing research and working on that all-important first impression, be it your CV or profile on agencies websites. We see thousands of CVs every day, as do employers, so saying you’re hard working and have a great eye for detail has to be reflected in your CV or it’s just fluff.
3 – Do agencies care about inexperienced crew and can they help me?
I’ll go into much more detail about this in another blog post but here is the short answer.
Do agents care? Yes, as much as they can. I don’t mean this in a derogatory way at all but when you receive 200+ applications for every job you post, it is very difficult to give every applicant 100% of your effort.
What can you do to increase your chances? Help us help you, keep your profile active and current, make sure you have added your references to your profile, check in regularly, make sure your phone numbers and email address works, you would be amazed how many crew don’t respond when we try to contact them. Last but not least, understand that we are human too.
It’s all fair and well to say ‘please keep me in mind if something comes up’ but we prefer to encourage you to apply for any position you’re qualified for directly with the decision makers which is why we built YOA. Be Your Own Agent, take control of the jobs you put yourself forward for and represent yourself as best you can.
We are of course there whenever you need us and are passionate about helping wherever we can.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope it helps.