Round-the-world sailor Alex Thomson backs Fareham and Gosport initiative to teach school children maritime skills
Kayaking, open water swimming, sailing and paddle boarding are set to become part of the curriculum for children in Gosport and Fareham.
The Gosport and Fareham Multi-Academy Trust (GFM) has announced that from September it will be launching its new marine and maritime lessons and has enlisted the support of a record breaking yachtsman to help.
Children will be taught marine engineering as well as lessons in maritime marketing and design.
British yachtsman, Alex Thomson, who is based in Gosport, has been appointed as course patron.
Alex, 45, was the youngest skipper ever to win the Clipper round-the-world yacht race and holds the single hull record for a solo, unassisted circumnavigation of the globe.
Alex said: ‘This is a huge step towards providing young people in the local area with solid foundations on which to build exciting careers on the water.
‘But as well as that, this initiative will also benefit the maritime and marine sector enormously by providing a skilled and enthusiastic future work force, helping to bridge the skills gap in the industry.
As well as gaining a formal qualification, Alex also believes the course will benefit children’s personal development.
‘From independence and resilience to teamwork and communication, there are so many values that young people can learn from getting out on the water,’ he added.
Chief executive at the GFM, Ian Potter, added: ‘I personally thank Alex for agreeing to become the patron of the new marine and maritime curriculum.
Through Alex and our other marine partners this innovative new programme will help our young people develop important life skills and boost their future employment prospects.’
The move is part of an initiative to develop more vocational learning programmes linked to the marine industry, including a partnership with Portsmouth Harbour Marine.
Assistant headteacher and curriculum lead at the GFM, Chris Willis, said: ‘We are delighted to be working in partnership with Portsmouth Harbour Marine in developing a hugely exciting maritime curriculum for all children in Gosport.
‘It’s our aim in the GFM to have all students develop a love of the water and to raise aspirations for all by developing opportunities which enable great success through their potential future destinations.’
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