The “Drogheda Sail Training Bursary” was once again highlighted at the Annual Sail Training Ireland Awards Ceremony last week in the Mansion House. The CEO of Sail Training Ireland, Mr. Darragh Sheridan acknowledged the Drogheda bursary scheme as the first of its kind back in 2013, encouraging many other port towns and cities to follow suit. Fast forward seven years and there are 8 of these local bursary schemes operating throughout Ireland in association with the national charity, Sail Training Ireland.
It is true to say pre-2013 Maritime facilities for such opportunities as this in Drogheda were non-existent, so the Drogheda Port Company set out to change that through Sail Training. Since then 140 local teens have been gutsy enough to experience this influential sailing experience that often has a profoundly positive effect on their outlook on life and career choices. Some trainees have progressed to longer voyages on bigger tall ships, while others are now sitting on the Sail Training Ireland Youth Council and even pursuing maritime careers in the Navy. These developments are a testament of how much this Drogheda Sail Training youth development program has grown since its maiden voyage back in 2013.
At last week’s Awards Ceremony, local students, Erin Englishby of Colaiste na Hinse, Bettystown and Ronan Collins of St. Joseph’s C.B.S, Drogheda were both presented with the Perpetual Trophy for ‘Outstanding Trainee’ on their respective voyages in June 2019. Their vessel Captain, Mr. Peter Scallan who presented these awards, described these trainees as valuable, committed leaders who enriched the experience of all onboard. Both students are keen to continue sailing and are hopeful of upskilling on progression voyages later this year.
The continued support of the bursary sponsors is the key driver of this initiative; Irish Cement, Fast Terminals, Louth County Council and Drogheda Port Company make this possible.