Employer of the year

City College Southampton has awarded Oyster Yachts as its Employer of the Year. This news coincides with Oyster Yachts' launch of the Oyster Apprenticeship Academy during National Apprenticeship Week. 

“Oyster Yachts is delighted to receive the Southampton City College’s Employer of the Year Award,” says Norman Blick, Head of Production at Oyster Yachts, Southampton.  “It’s been a positive and fruitful collaboration which has introduced great talent and the next generation of master craftsmen and women to Oyster Yachts. These expertise and traditional artisan skills are an essential ingredient of an Oyster yacht, which is why we’re committed to this relationship and plan to increase opportunities this year.” 

Emma Byrne, Workforce Skills Delivery Manager at City College Southampton says: “City College Southampton has worked in close partnership with Oyster Yachts for several years, supporting them with the successful recruitment of boat building and marine engineering apprentices and the upskilling of their workforce. Oyster’s apprentices gain the required technical knowledge and practical skills of their apprenticeship by regularly attending the College’s specialist Marine Skills Centre, with continued support and development provided by our dedicated Assessors that visit and assess them in the workplace. Our positive and close working relationship fully supports the growth and development of Oyster’s workforce to best fulfil their business needs.” 

City College Southampton is one of two colleges in the UK that works with Oyster Yachts to deliver the classroom element of Oyster four-year apprenticeship programmes. The second is Norwich City College, close to Oyster’s Norfolk-based manufacturing facilities at Wroxham and Ashmanhaugh.

This week's launch of the Oyster Apprenticeship Academy will allow Oyster to increase the number of apprentices it hires and adapt the programmes to ensure people have the right skills for the future.


The Apprenticeship Academy provides support from initial recruitment and interviewing through to a final graduation for up to 18 Apprentices annually, eight at Oyster Yachts in Southampton and a further ten at their facility in Wroxham, Essex.
“We are keen to continue to encourage people to join Oyster’s team of master craftspeople. We have a team of mentors that work with Apprentices on their professional development, so that they are able to learn from the time-honoured craftspeople that work at Oyster.  The training at our Oyster facilities will complement and enhance classroom learning and ensure that skills and knowledge are transferred from classroom theory to manufacturing knowledge.  The Academy will also provide support in personal development with additional training to develop core skills,” comments Bazil Figura, Training & Development Officer, who is leading the Oyster Apprenticeship Academy.

At the end of each Apprenticeship, the Academy offers a pragmatic plan, where the team at Oyster Yachts will continue to support and work alongside newly qualified Apprentices during their first year of employment.
“Our objective with the Oyster Apprenticeship Academy is simple - as a company we are committed to ensuring that we develop and grow the skills that are inherent in British boatbuilding and in this way, we can ensure that these talents continue for generations to come.  I’m passionate about the time-honoured boatbuilding crafts and recognise Oyster’s reliance on them, so sustaining these artisan skills is a priority. Through the Academy, we can encourage young talent into the business and help shape their skills so that sailors will always be able to experience the world’s finest bluewater sailing yachts." Richard Hadida, CEO and Owner, Oyster Yachts.

The Oyster Academy currently offers two Marine Apprenticeships: Boat Building and Engineering. The Boat Building Apprenticeship covers all internal and external aspects of boat building, with four days onsite learning with Oyster and one day a week at college.  Traditional craftsmanship modules include joinery, laminating and polishing - skills that form the cornerstone of Oyster Yachts quality build.  
The Engineering Apprenticeship also includes four days onsite with one day a week in college. This comprehensive Apprenticeship gives hands-on experience in all aspects of engineering from basic understanding of engineering drawings to the installation of complete fuel systems and the final commissioning process.
In addition to the Apprenticeships offered through the Oyster Academy, Oyster Yachts offers opportunities across the whole of the business. People interested in Apprenticeship opportunities should contact [email protected], in the first instance.