Sam was so sure that Rockley’s Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport (Outdoor Adventure) was the course and college for him, that he moved all the way from Surrey with his Dad for two years. He is now continuing his educational journey as a Rockley Apprentice.

Following a difficult time at school, partly due to an on-going and rare health condition - eosinophilic esophagitis, Sam made the decision to continue his post GCSE studies at Rockley College, mainly thanks to his Mum. She was a real advocate for him doing something she knew he would love and that would also take him outside the classroom.

“My Mum is really big on alternative learning. She found out about the course online and knew that Rockley College would suit my style of learning, so my Dad and I rented a house in Highcliffe for two years.”

From zero to hero

Sam joined the course with a love of sport and the outdoors but with absolutely no prior water or land activity experience. He graduated with a Distinction along with his RYA Dinghy, Windsurf and Paddlesport Instructor tickets and a range of land-based qualifications.

If you are wondering how he went from zero to hero in such a short space of time – “My friend Harrison and I did pretty much every single optional training available from the very start of year one. That really was the key.”

Why Rockley's Apprenticeship Programme?

So why choose the apprenticeship? “I knew I always wanted to work within this industry and I knew the apprenticeship would give me the extra experience I needed."

For now, Sam has been spending time shadowing sessions with the year one college students as well as leading a few sessions. He has his sights set on being a Practical Instructor (watch out Pete and Neil – he’s coming for your job!) and is optimistic about gaining even more qualifications including his RYA Powerboat Instructor and RYA Senior Instructor.

“I absolutely loved my two years at college. The course definitely changed my life and I became really close to the staff as well. All the teachers made such a big difference to my experience. I’ve always felt so welcome here.”

Sam is also very keen to explore a career in yachting, however he has had to put this on hold due to his medical condition. He’s not giving up though and it’s these qualities – his tenacity, determination, resilience and infective optimism that make him so well liked amongst the Rockley staff and students. “I’m a big believer in fate and that things happen for a reason.”

Did you know....

Apart from doing his favourite things – windsurfing and kitesurfing, Sam also dabbles in a bit of DJing and has recently returned from a gig in Cornwall. Sam is proving to be a pretty cool guy!

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