Student Nikita sets sail on a marine career

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Nikita Broadberry

A Year 11 student is realising a dream she has had since she was small to pursue a career on the water.

Nikita Broadberry has secured an apprenticeship with the Cotswold Boat Hire company, based in Buscot Lock, where she will be learning to manage their electric day hire boats.

She will be working toward a Marina and Boat Operative Level 2 qualification, which will train her in how to look after the boatyard, as well as learning how to maintain and repair the electric boats.

“My Grandma has a boat which I’ve been on since I was few weeks old. I’m one of those that if I see a problem I want to fix it, so working with boats in this apprenticeship – I’ve got lucky!”

“It’s a one-year apprenticeship where, when I’m not running the boat yard, my boss will be teaching me in between, so I’m expecting to learn a lot. I’m so excited as I love being outdoors and by the river. It’s going to be great, meeting different people and making them smile.”

Nikita hard at work antifouling a boat

“Going forward there are lots of careers in the boating industry, so I’m just really looking forward to getting started.”

Nikita joined UTC Swindon in Year 10, and says she enjoyed the small school environment, the community feel and hands-on, practical approach to learning the school gave her.

“I didn’t really fit in in my old school. I knew I wanted to do something in engineering, but I wasn’t sure what. Following the engineering path gave me experience and knowledge of lots of areas of engineering, and it showed me all the opportunities there were.

“I liked that it was really practical and hands-on – I really enjoyed being in the workshop and the teachers made the learning process fun. It made me come out of myself – when I started I was quire shy – now I want to be first trying out all then new areas of engineering.

Cotswold Boat Hire electric boats

“As a girl, you are pushed to know you can succeed just as well as the boys – our engineering teacher, Sarah Crookes, is woman who was in the Navy – and she was inspirational.

“But every teacher has helped me – they are all there if you need them and can talk to them about anything. I don’t think you get that level of help in a comprehensive.

For those thinking about UTC, Nikita says: “I absolutely recommend it. If you have that passion for STEM especially engineering, computer science or systems control, come here, it will help you academically and practically.

“It’s so nice not having to do all the other exams, and takes the pressure off as you’re just doing the stuff you’re more interested in.”

Look out for Nikita on the River Thames when she starts her apprenticeship in August – you can even hire a boat from her at: Cotswold Boat & GLS Marine 

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