BIOS Participates in Career Training Partnership

As part of an annual collaboration with the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme, BIOS educational and scientific staff presented two half-days of educational programming, focusing on careers and technology in ocean science. BIOS became involved with the Springboard Programme as part of the Institute’s Ocean Academy Curriculum Enrichment Program and offers participants exposure to career pathways in research institutions, as well as information about internships at the Institute through the Bermuda Program.

In late January and early February, BIOS education and scientific staff presented two half-days of interactive educational content for 11 young Bermudians as part of an annual collaboration with the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme. The programme is an intensive, experiential training program for Bermudians ages 16 and older who are interested in working in the maritime industry, which includes careers as diverse as sailing instructors, ferry conductors, shipping and logistics managers, and port operators.

The Springboard Programme, which began in 2018, is offered in partnership with the Bermuda College Professional and Career Education Division.

Over the course of seven weeks, participants earn several internationally-recognized Royal Yachting Association qualifications in sailing, powerboat handling, navigation, first aid, and radio communication. They also participate in workshops that help them write or improve resumes, prepare for interviews, and create plans for job searches. Through all of these activities, both on land and on the water, they work together to develop skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, decision-making, and communication.

Participants also have the opportunity to make contacts in the local maritime industry through site visits and career days, which serve the dual purpose of sharing information about the skills and professional training requirements for jobs within various maritime sectors. BIOS became involved with the Springboard Programme in this capacity in 2018 as part of the Institute’s Ocean Academy Curriculum Enrichment Program.

The visit also included a hands-on workshop led by Kaitlin Noyes, BIOS’s director of education and community engagement. Springboard Programme members practiced building and testing model robotic grabbers, such as those used by underwater robots to collect marine species or geologic samples. Here, Springboard Programme crew member Jahshon Smith learns to solder metal parts together as part of the workshop.

“BIOS offers Bermudian youth in the Endeavour Maritime Career Springboard Programme exposure to career pathways in research institutions, as well as information about opportunities and internships at the Institute through the Bermuda Program,” said Kaitlin Noyes, BIOS’s director of education and community engagement.

“Each year young Bermudians who are participating in the Springboard Programme, along with Endeavour team members, are excited to visit BIOS to learn more about the amazing marine opportunities and fascinating work that BIOS achieves as part of our partnership,” said Tia Tankard, Endeavour’s Community Engagement Coordinator. “Our young people are inspired by the passion that Kaitlin and her team at BIOS demonstrate each year which helps ignite their interest to pursue their goal of working in the maritime industry.” 

The core component of the educational programming offered at BIOS is a tour of the research vessel Atlantic Explorer. This year, due to COVID-19 safety protocols at BIOS, participants took the tour virtually.

While students watched via a projection screen, Claire Medley, a BIOS research technician who works aboard Atlantic Explorer on monthly science cruises, narrated a tour of the ship and answered a variety of questions, including: “What qualifications are required to work on Atlantic Explorer?” (It depends upon your role: research technicians like Medley require degrees in oceanography or marine science, while the ship’s crew have a variety of professional training, such as U.S. Coast Guard and vessel operator licenses.) and “What is biogeochemistry?” (It’s a discipline of science that looks at the biological, geological, and chemical components of the natural world and how they interact.).

“I enjoyed being involved with helping students learn more about careers in ocean science,” Medley said. “It’s not always obvious that such a wide range of skills are needed and can be applied to different jobs and roles aboard the ship.”

A core component of the program is usually a tour of the research vessel Atlantic Explorer; however, this year, due to COVID, the tour took place virtually. While participants watched from a classroom, BIOS research technician Claire Medley led them on a virtual tour of the ship and answered their questions. This interactive session allowed Springboard Programme members to learn about the wide range of skills that are required to work in various positions aboard a seagoing oceanographic research vessel.

The groups also met in-person with BIOS research specialist Tim Noyes who spoke about the marine technology that he uses to conduct many aspects of his research. One example are the baited remote underwater video stations (or BRUVs), which he uses to visually survey the fish populations in reef communities around Bermuda. Noyes spoke about how most of the technologies he uses, from BRUVs to more sophisticated underwater robotics such as remotely operated vehicles, begin with prototypes.

This provided a natural lead-in to an interactive, hands-on activity presented by Kaitlin Noyes that allowed participants to practice building and testing model robotic grabbers, such as those used by underwater robots to collect marine species or geological samples. 

“I enjoyed learning how to solder [to make a robot] and hearing about the different activities they do on Atlantic Explorer when the researchers go out to sea,” said Zico Smith, 16, a 2021 Springboard Programme crew member from Cedarbridge Academy.