By David Robinson

Barcelona-based Sovren House Academy (SHA) has launched a new superyacht sector training programme that offers a comprehensive range of integrated service modules leading to a Level 4 Foundation degree for private yachting. This new course was launched at the recent Palma Superyacht Show.

Described by Sovren House as “an exciting, new, innovative programme”, this course is said to be a first for the superyacht, cruise and high-end five-star hospitality markets. The Sovren House Hospitality Academy is a building within the MB’92 shipyard in Barcelona and it is the first such fully internationally accredited facility for the maritime industry.

The new course breaks down into the following levels:

  • Entry Level L1- Hospitality course -5 day full time delivered at the Academy in Barcelona or a Palma facility
  • Entry Level L2 – Professional Butlers Course with maritime modules. Course duration two weeks full time at the Academy.
  • Diploma Level L3 – Professional Butlers Course with maritime modules. Course duration two weeks full time at the Academy followed by ‘onboard’ tasks and projects submitted electronically to the Academy for examination and course assessment.
  • Foundation L4 Degree – Professional Butlers Degree with maritime modules. 12-18 month course, online delivery and assessment, including access to online tutors. The degree is from the University of West London.

In addition to this, bespoke ‘on-board’ training packages are available, dependent upon numbers and location. Combination packages, hospitality and STCW course are also offered to make up a comprehensive and flexible group of courses to meet varying customer needs.

This new degree course is worked in conjunction with a number of leading bodies in this specialist market. These include the UK’s City & Guilds educational organisation; the Wine Guild of the UK, the Academy of Food & Wine Service and the University of West London. The Professional Yachting Association (PYA) is also involved with the course.

A spokesman for Sovren House said: “The courses have been accredited by a number of internationally recognised institutions and professional bodies, providing a positive career pathway that is recognised and valued by the wider hospitality sector. It offers greater career prospects for new and existing employees as well as providing owners and operators with well-trained and motivated employees.”

The team involved with formulating the course and delivering include:

  • Professor David Foskett, who is a member of the UK’s Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and Fellow of the Institute of Hospitality
  • John Croft, who is Director of Training, leads the course delivery team and has a 30-year background in senior operational hotel and restaurant management

Other team members all have hospitality track records and they have all been assessed and approved by the University of West London.

A regular programme of the different-level courses are held by the Academy. A Level 1 course is held every month, with Levels 2 and 3 every other months. As part of this whole project and in a move to help young people fund the courses, SHHA has initiated an exclusive training bond arrangement.

Stephen White, founder and CEO of the Sovren House Group, told SB: “Many potential superyacht owners do not buy yachts because that are frightened about the quality of the service they will get onboard. This new course aims to address this situation.”