Three Evolve apprentices took to the seas last month to take part in the annual Apprentice Ship Cup tournament.
Luke Keough, Connor Marshall and Josh Demir were among a hundred apprentices representing organisations across the UK. They spent a week aboard one of four tall ships, learning new skills and working as a team.
Luke tells us about his time aboard the SS Duke of Pembroke…
We boarded the ship at Belfast and joined apprentices from two other housing providers. None of us had ever sailed before, so we were all in the same boat (pardon the pun!).
From the moment I stepped on board to when we docked in Liverpool, it was absolutely fantastic. We learnt how to navigate and sail the ship, including going high up into the rigging to set sails at sea. We learnt how to respond to commands without question, and the importance of finishing tasks properly because other people are depending on you.
The biggest challenge was dealing with sleep deprivation. We were all allocated watches and put on a four-hour rota, but when the weather deteriorated, it was all hands on deck!
It was great to work with everyone on board and to meet people from other organisations. We have all become great friends and we’re actually planning a reunion in Belfast later in the year.
My friends and family are all really proud of me and have been very supportive. My mum thinks I have matured in the short time I’ve been away.
After arriving back in Liverpool, we stayed on board a little longer to help refurbish some parts of the ship before its next voyage. We went to the awards ceremony the day after we docked and I was named ‘Best Apprentice’ of the tournament.
To anyone thinking about taking part in the tournament in the future, I would say go for it. When I found out I would be taking part, at first I felt a bit worried because I wasn’t sure what to expect, but now, I would do it again and again if I had the chance.
Don’t hesitate to go for it, it will be one of the most memorable things that you will ever do in your life!
Luke, 17, has been an apprentice at Evolve for just over year and is working towards a NVQ Level 2 qualification in Carpentry and Joinery.
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