Alex Thomson has been named Patron of Marine and Maritime curriculum for the Gosport and Fareham Multi Academy Trust (GFM).
The new Marine and Maritime curriculum, set to be introduced to schools from September 2020, will combine water-based activities such as sailing, kayaking, sea swimming and paddle boarding. The curriculum developed will also include the teaching of marine and maritime engineering, design, branding and marketing within the industry, working with local employers to close the skills gap.
As part of the scheme, the GFM has begun building partnerships with industry employers including Portsmouth Harbour Marine.
Thomson believes the programme is an investment in the future of the young people of Gosport, who he feels are ideally placed to meet the skills gap in the maritime and marine sector.
“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.” said Thomson. “But as well as that, this initiative will also benefit the maritime and marine sector by providing a skilled future work force, helping to bridge the skills gap in the industry.
“I believe that sailing teaches young people valuable life skills. From independence and resilience to teamwork and communication, there are so many values that young people can learn from getting out on the water. In France, children learn to sail from a young age because the French people understand the values that it can instil within them. I’d like to see more of that here in the UK.”
Assistant Head and Community Curriculum Lead at the GFM, Chris Willis, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Alex Thomson and Portsmouth Harbour Marine in developing a hugely exciting Marine and Maritime curriculum for all children in Gosport.
“It is 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.”
GFM CEO Ian Potter said: “I personally thank Alex for agreeing to become the patron of the new Marine & 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.”