Google, UKSA

Thanks to a near $2 Million contribution combined with what’s already been raised – UKSA will “develop” and “upgrade” it’s Cowes-based site.

Combined with the funds raised following a fundraising campaign – it now has £3.4million pounds to create a new building and can welcome 3,000 more students a year.

Planning permission has been approved with building work due to start in November – it’s expected to take 12 to 15 months to complete.

The American-based foundation, that supports maritime training, has given UKSA the largest donation in its 30-year history.

CEO of UKSA, Ben Willows, told Isle of Wight Radio:

“The new building itself will be 112 beds and will totally transform the entrance to UKSA  – our reception and the area where we welcome students and visitors will all be at the font near the main gates.

“The way in which the building is being designed is quite exciting – it’s all built-in modular wings and areas, what that means is a group could come with 20 students and they could go into a particular area – we can lock that area down securely… From a safeguarding and security point of view, it’s fantastic – and in terms of improving our capacity.”

Ben Willows said the expansion will “undoubtedly” mean more employment opportunities at UKSA including new support and teaching staff.

The firm currently has 120 full-time staff and during the summer it employs around 180.

UKSA also offers free training for young people on the Isle of Wight with employment guaranteed at UKSA for two tears- as a multi-discipline water sports instructor.

Ben added:

“Come and talk to us because that program is fully supported and we would love to get more Island people onto that program working for us.”

Meanwhile, the old Cowes youth centre building is now available to hire after its gym and sports hall received a refurb.

Any sports or fitness groups interested can contact UKSA on 01983 294941.