16 people from the Derry and Strabane District Council Areas attended a graduation event at the Guildhall last week to mark their achievements on the Maritime Ambassadors Programme part of KickStart to Work. The Maritime Ambassador programme is organised by Derry City and Strabane District Council and Loughs Agency and aims to get people into employment through watersports. Participants gain a Level 1 qualification in canoe coaching, angling coaching and powerboating.
Speaking about the course one of last year’s Maritime Ambassador’s Terrence Kelly said ‘the highlight for me was the coaching. Also the journeys we took paddling along the beautiful Inishowen coastline and fishing from the canoes’. Terrence would encourage others to join the programme which runs three times a year. ‘It’s a great opportunity. I’d do it again tomorrow if I could. It’s good craic and I’m hoping the assistant coaching qualification will open up new employment opportunities for me! You get well looked after and plenty of support’ said Terrence.
One ambassador, Scott Robinson was recognized for his hard work and contributions to the programme, receiving the Phillip Gent Memorial Cup, in memory of a participant who had taken part in the first course and had displayed all the attributes and positive attitude needed to succeed in the sector.
Scott Robinson receiving the Philip Gent Award from Mrs Marion Gent.
Community Engagement Officer Rosemary McCloskey at Loughs Agency said, ‘this programme aims to develop the skills, knowledge and qualifications of local people to become Maritime Ambassadors. The hope is that they will use the experience to pursue employment or volunteer opportunities linked to their new qualifications. The Foyle, its tributaries, estuary and the local coast are a great resource and provide a stunning landscape for new businesses and recreational hobbies to blossom.’
The next course starts on the 8th of August and is free of charge to anyone unemployed, not in education or training and living within the Derry and Strabane District Council area. If you are interested and would like to register please contact either Rosemary McCloskey at Loughs Agency, 02871 342100 or Geraldine O’hEara at Derry City and Strabane District Council, 02871 308466.