Jubilee Sailing Trust Bosun’s Mate ROB FORD has recently gained a place on Vodafone’s World of Difference UK programme.
About World of Difference
Imagine spending time making a difference working for your dream charity and getting paid. That's what the World of Difference UK programme is all about. Over the years it has helped hundreds of people bring their skills and experience to the charities of their choice.
The World of Difference UK programme gives 500 people the chance to work for a UK charity of their choice. As well as the full-time two months' placements, this year people can consider a part-time placement over a four month period (minimum of 15 hours per week).
Last year's winners started their placements in March, and have donated themselves to charities all over the UK. They've lent their considerable expertise to diverse causes like children and young people, the environment, animal welfare, poverty relief, health and the arts. World of Difference UK is being funded and delivered by the Vodafone Foundation, a charity registered in England with registration no. 1089625.
How did you first get involved with JST?
Whilst in rehabilitation from a very serious motor cycle accident, my father who was head of the marine engineering department at the college of further education at Queen’s Park Terrace told me that naval architect Colin Mudie was tank testing a scale model of a ship that could accommodate physically disabled people. After my recovery I went and helped with maintenance when the ship – by now named Lord Nelson - returned from the Bahamas in 1989.
What did you do in your 'life before JST'?
I trained as a boat builder and then sailed professionally on racing yachts including competing in a Volvo Round the World race and also on traditional sailing boats. I have been working for Royal Mail for the last 10 years or so.
Why do you like working for the JST?
The Trust has been an important part of my life for over 20 years – I have seen it develop and change but seen it continue to stay true to its original mission of Changing Lives. I have many long term friendships with people I have sailed and worked with aboard both ships and ashore with branch events. I enjoy the variety of work each day brings and meeting so many new people as well as meeting back up with old friends.
What don't you like about working for the Trust?!
As my normal working day with Royal Mail runs from 1-9pm the early mornings sometimes take a bit of getting used to! Also it eats up lots of my annual leave…..but as my partner works onboard it does mean we can go sailing and spend time together.
How did you apply for World of Difference?
I heard about it on the radio last year and thought it could be a great idea to give something back to the Trust using my professional skills. I applied online last September. The programme offers 500 individuals across the UK the opportunity to spend time working for a charity – they provide a grant to support living expenses. The application requires you to have a good understanding of the charity you would like to work for and the type of project you would like to work on. I will be taking two and a half months off my Royal Mail work to complete my JST project.
What will you do during the programme ie what 'difference' will you make?
I will be writing a training manual for Bosun’s Mates and Cook’s Assistants. I hope that this will encourage volunteers to develop their own skills whilst on board and it will help ensure that the Trust continues to have a well-trained and enthusiastic team of volunteers in the future. It will also potentially give young people who volunteer with the Trust the opportunity to have their work recognised through a national scheme and if we encourage people to look at the marine industry as a career move, it will be a great addition to their CV.
Why did you get selected?
The application asked for a lot of information about my long-time commitment to the Trust as a volunteer – it also asked in depth about the project I hoped to complete and the way in which this could help and support the Trust move forward in the recruitment, training and retention of volunteers on board the ships. It also identified the skills I could offer to this project to move the ideas forward. After the initial application online I was short listed for a phone interview – within a month of this I had a call to let me know I had been successful. After attending an induction day in late February, I began my placement at the Trust.
What are your aspirations for the future beyond World of Difference?
I would love to carry on sailing as Bosun’s Mate/Cook’s Assistant and help to keep the new manual up to date and develop it into something that could be utilised as best practice by other organisations. I would like the Trust to be recognised for its support and training of its volunteers. On a personal level I will carry on promoting the Trust and the work it does.