After a sail training voyage from Hartlepool to Norway during his time at sixth form, Dan was inspired to seek out an outdoor apprenticeship, which ultimately led him to Rockley.

Dan’s story is typical of many young people who are still discovering what they want to do in life. He studied A-level Maths, biology and PE, however, despite applying to several universities to do courses that did not excite him, he finally decided upon Rockley’s Outdoor Activity Instructor Apprenticeship with the support of his parents.

“As long as I’m happy, they are happy! Plus, they viewed the apprenticeship as pretty much equal as to going to university.”

A couple of months after the apprenticeship, during which time he gained his RYA Windsurf and Dinghy Instructor tickets as well as his Paddlesport Instructor, Dan went to Australia to work as an instructor. Shortly after that, he successfully qualified as a Keelboat Instructor and spent seven months delivering the Australian sailing keelboat scheme.

“I then flew up to Darwin where I completed my Wing Instructor, teaching adults, kids and indigenous people which was pretty cool.

After that, it was a flight to Brisbane where he took a step away from dinghies and keelboats and decided to go BIG! Dan joined the maintenance team on the 75-year old Soren Larsen Tall Ship, taking the boat from Brisbane to Sydney and spending seven months working on it whilst also gaining his Yacht Master.

“I’ve spent a lot of time on boats but my time on tall ships was pretty cool – I really enjoyed that.”

“Rockley seem to understand the value of staff going to other centres and then coming back. When I left, I was really encouraged to go away and then they made sure I felt welcome when I returned.”

Dan’s decision to return home for a short period to spend time with his family is certainly our gain and he’s settled comfortably back into life at Rockley!

“Rockley seem to understand the value of staff going to other centres and then coming back. When I left, I was really encouraged to go away and then they made sure I felt welcome when I returned. Working away gives you a much broader knowledge of the industry you are in and you gain a lot of new experiences which gives you a lot more confidence in your teaching.”

As well as working, he’s also got his sights set on gaining even more qualifications including his RYA Powerboat and Senior Instructor tickets: “I wanted to get a couple more RYA qualifications and I couldn’t do that from abroad - Rockley is a really good place to do that because there is always loads going on. I know the Rockley team and they are so good at what they do – as Jared previously said, I’m yet to meet an RYA instructor who hasn’t heard of Rockley.”

In his downtime, he does plenty of windsurfing and wakeboarding and enjoys going out with the team at lunchtime or after work. “It’s part of the reason I came back here – you are always encouraged to get out on the water.”

As for Dan’s future plans: “I would really like to use my Yacht Master qualification. I’m getting it commercially endorsed so will have pretty much done everything I need to do to work on boats full time. I’m hoping to continue with Tall Ship sailing – maybe go to the Caribbean and do some sailing there, maybe go to Greece or stay in the UK and complete a maintenance course – I don’t know yet. What we do know for sure is that Dan isn’t done learning, developing his skills and grabbing all the amazing opportunities that come his way. He’s already achieved so much in such a short space of time - we have a feeling Dan has an amazing future ahead of him!


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