I was fortunate to be invited to a fantastic cruise ship experience last week. During the cruise I enjoyed the faultless service and friendly environment granted by the crew. It made me think about superyacht standards and the constant lack of young professional crew.
I also had time in my hands to read industry news and my eyes were drawn to an article on Superyachtnews.com about a new initiative offering yachts the services of a psychologist / psychiatrist to balance tension between senior and junior crew. WTF?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against providing any team with the tools they need to work well together, but having worked on busy yachts I also know that most Captains and Chief Stews simply don't have time to teach new recruits the very basics of working in our elite industry. Having a background in professional teaching in restaurant schools, and after that, wide experience and understanding of both classroom and onboard training, I still can’t understand why we are trying to reinvent the wheel in yacht interior training?
Lulu Trask wrote an opinion piece on Superyacht News about interior training in the yachting industry and I agree with her, but I would like the industry to open their eyes a little and question whether we are going about recruiting and training new interior crew the wrong way.
The G.U.E.S.T program is equivalent to a standard restaurant school curriculum. Should we be sourcing new interior crew from the restaurant schools, and then develop an onboard apprenticeship / intern / on-the-job learning program to hone those exisiting skills and teach our industry specifics? In the same time frame we could end up with new professional crew who are even more skilled and valuable to the vessel they are on!
During an apprenticeship we could use the G.U.E.S.T trainers to evaluate candidates, share their invaluable superyacht experience, and make sure 7* industry standards are met. An added bonus with this is that the crew would have recognised training for their professional life after yachting, and busy senior crew would have the reassurance that new crew already have the basic skills needed to work onboard.
What do we need to be able to do this? We need to look outside the box and make yachting sexy and desirable long term for Millennials (born 1980-2000).
We need to catch their attention? We need to be able to communicate with millennials using a platform they are comfortable with. 88% use social media daily, and most don’t know that the superyacht industry even exists.
We need to look at how our industry is branded and introduce our culture through the most popular and versatile channel of video.
We need to create hype for the industry as a front-runner in tech and innovation. We need to be visible on social media globally. This should be the target for all our many yachting associations, media groups and ambassadors!
I look forward to seeing who will take the first step forward, and applaud the person or group who takes that giant leap outside the box!