Former marine engineering student Lois Roberts recently returned to Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor to tell learners about her adventures on the Adriatic Sea.
Lois, from Blaenau Ffestiniog, is currently in Dubrovnik after landing a seasonal job as a flotilla technician with holiday company Sunsail.
She headed for Croatia after completing her Level 3 Diploma in Marine Engineering at the Hafan campus in Pwllheli this summer. While visiting home recently she returned to college to talk to the current cohort about her travels.
“It’s been brilliant,” said Lois, who applied for the job after attending a presentation by Sunsail at Coleg Llandrillo’s Rhos-on-Sea campus. “When I went to Croatia I was really nervous because I’d never been anywhere by myself before.
“But once I got there I realised everyone was in the same situation, which made it a bit easier. You get to hang around with a great bunch of people and make new friends.
“I showed the students pictures of some of our boats, spoke about what a normal day looks like and about some of the privileges you get while you’re working.
“They were very keen to learn more about how they could get out there and hopefully it gave them a bit of motivation.”
Sunsail offers sailing holidays for guests with varying levels of experience, from those who want to sail yachts themselves to others who hire a skipper for their trip.
Describing a typical day, Lois said: “You’d brief guests so they know how the systems on the boat work. Once the guests had left for the week you’d take a boat or two and give them a service, maintenance, check the sails etc.
“You get to take some of the boats out, and sometimes they do team-building exercises, or sometimes you might go out for a week on a flotilla.
“We’re based 10 minutes out of Dubrovnik, so on days off there are quite a few mountains nearby to go walking in. You can visit Dubrovnik’s old town, which is quite interesting and historical, or you could hop on a boat and explore the islands around Dubrovnik.”
After initially being taken on until the end of September, Lois recently had her contract extended for another two months. She may end up staying with the company longer if there are more opportunities to get out on the water.
“When the season changes there may be the possibility to go to Thailand, Australia or the Caribbean,” she said. “Sunsail also has bases in the USA, Greece, Italy and the Seychelles.”
Lois said her course at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor had prepared her well, adding: “Marine Engineering is a fantastic subject to study. It gives you loads of different opportunities. And there is no better place to study than in Pwllheli.
"There were a lot of practical lessons, getting to know how things work rather than a lot of paperwork. There was more time in the workshop rather than in the classroom, doing something with your hands, which I enjoyed.”
Asked for her advice to current students, Lois said: “Push yourself to get what you want. Don’t be afraid - go for it. Through doing this, I’ve learned a lot about sailing and how to use the systems, and also I’ve learned not to be scared to try new things.”
Lecturer Ellis Morey said: “We were very happy that Lois came back to share her experiences with our current cohort.
“They left her talk full of enthusiasm and motivation. As a result we'll be taking our group to Rhos again to hear the exciting opportunities offered by Sunsail.
“It's amazing what Lois has achieved through her time with us, and now what she has gone on to do. We have no doubt that this is just the beginning for Lois and we look forward to hearing where her career will take her next.”
Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor's marine engineering students will be attending another presentation by Sunsail at Coleg Llandrillo's Rhos-on-Sea campus on Tuesday, December 5.
For more information about marine engineering courses at Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor’s Hafan campus, click here.