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Andrea Rosenbaum

Andrea Rosenbaum began her apprenticeship with F50 League NZ Ltd, SailGP and graduated in March this year with the NZ Certificate in Boat Building (Composites). She also won the Waxeye Apex Award for Excellence in Advanced Technology. At the graduation dinner she spoke of her career journey, and was grateful to the MAST Academy, saying her training “allowed her to learn not only how things are done, but why.”

Female speaking at podium

Andrea grew up in South Africa with no background in boats or the marine industry. ‘I didn’t know what I wanted to do after school and my parents suggested doing a gap year - but a friend recommended working on Superyachts was a good way to earn money and travel the world- and it sounded like a fantastic opportunity.

I started getting my tickets and working at the sailing academy to pay off my courses. Most of them were done on a sailboat - which I had absolutely no knowledge about - but the moment I stepped onto the boat I was hooked! I wanted to know everything there was to know about sailing and sailboats…’

Andrea’s first job was in Cape Town, working for a sailor who owned a Fast 40 which he raced on Wednesday nights and weekends. ‘My job was primarily to clean the boat - but I asked one day if I could go on a race with them. The response was ‘but you don’t know anything about sailing…’ so I said ‘yes, that’s true… but I do know how to fill a chilly bin with beer!’ That worked - and I did my first Wednesday race!’

Man and lady with award
Andrea Rosenbaum with Neil Patton from Waxeye

The same sailor helped Andrea get her first big superyacht job - on a boat called Leopard 3. From there Andrea worked on racing superyachts in the Mediterranean for several years. ‘I was fascinated by what makes these boats go fast and decided that somehow, I was going to work on race boats.’

Andrea came across a SailGP video and immediately decided she needed to be involved in circuit racing. ‘I chatted to a few people and was told I needed to get a trade first. I had just moved to New Zealand and Covid hit. I had decided that boat building was the one for me, so I began my apprenticeship and loved everything about what I was learning and the work I was doing’.

Andrea believes an apprenticeship is a great way to learn - where both practical and theoretical knowledge provide young learners with an understanding of the trade and why things are done a particular way. ‘I think there are many incredible boat builders in the industry - both qualified and not - but for me, doing an apprenticeship not only gave me a piece of paper saying I am qualified in my field - but it also showed I had perseverance – something I’ve found reflects well with potential employers’.

‘I have now completed my Composite Boat Building (Level 4). My employer is SailGP and they have been an amazing support, allowing me to complete my apprenticeship on tour. My head of department Thomas Peet not only opened the door for me to complete my apprenticeship while working for the tech team, but he also helped me along the way by supplying resources and setting up weekly ‘virtual’ meetings.  He could check how I was progressing while on tour - and plan and organise which units I should tackle next.’

‘Now that I have completed my training, I would say to any school leaver considering an apprenticeship that it’s a fantastic choice. My advice would be to set a routine with the units you need to do. Obviously, you’ll need practical knowledge to complete many of the papers. You work through them - taking photo evidence of work done, and then read through the theory papers prior to doing them. Keeping the apprenticeship qualification as your goal helps you to strategically work through all the units. And don’t overthink it! You will be provided the tools and support to get through… so use them!’

For Andrea, the hardest part of the training was when she did her last year ‘on tour’ - translating a lot of what she was doing to fit what was asked of her in the units. She had two field officers, Joe Daw and Mike Birdsall during her apprenticeship because she changed her work location. “They were both fantastic support, especially in my final year. Mike was jumping on video calls with Tom and I at varying times of the day, talking through how things were going. He was constantly asking how he could help - and explaining what was expected of me to get the units done. A BIG thank you to Mike Birdsall!’

‘I think there are many skills I’ve learnt that I can take forward now. One thing I think is very important - especially in the industry I work in now - is preparation. I feel that preparation is the key to efficiency and achieving a good final product. For me, I feel I’ve taken a very big step already, being part of a race circuit like SailGP. I hope I can go on and further myself in these high-calibre circuits. I want to continue learning as much as I can about this amazing industry.’

‘I am proud to have completed my apprenticeship - and I’m especially proud to have done it with the company that I dreamed so long to work for. I count myself very lucky to be in the position I am, and I’m looking forward to carrying on moving forward and upward!’  

Female sitting cross legged with mask on fixing ceiling


Andrea’s Employer:

Tom Peet. Head of Wing Department, Sail GP, Technical Team. Global

‘Having apprentices ensures the knowledge and skills gained over time by staff is passed on to the next generation of the marine sector technical workforce.’

‘Apprentices ensure the workforce remains young and enthusiastic and keeps the business focus on sustainable growth – something which is fundamental for Sail GP. It is the best way to guarantee acquired knowledge and skills are transferred to new tradesmen and women through a learning mechanism that typically suits practically minded individuals (i.e theory in support of hands on work)

I completed a marine rigging apprenticeship with NZ Marine while working at NZ Rigging from 2013-2015 in Auckland. After completing it, I entered the TP52 Super Series in Europe as Shore Crew, firstly with Bronenosec for the 2015 season, and then Sled for the 2016/17/18 seasons – including the build of the new boat at Core Builders Composites at the end of 2017. Near the end of 2018 I was approached to join Sail GP to run the Rigging Department for the Technical Team. That subsequently grew to involve Rigging, Wings, Sailmaking and Fairings.

I found the apprenticeship process with MAST incredibly straight forward. Mike Birdsall had great communication and clear expectations of the quality of work required. Timelines were agreed and maintained well - both by Andy and Mike. MAST provided a great framework to develop Andy’s skills and progress her through her learning journey.

MAST maintained regular check-ins with both her and I. Mike was a readily available sounding board and resource for any questions or issues Andy faced. He made the process really straight forward. From clarification on standard requirements, to assistance with work techniques and historic examples - MAST provided support the entire way through the learning journey.

Apprentices are a great way for companies to develop the next generation of skilled workers. We all share the knowledge we’ve learnt over years in the industry and can help to shape the future of young, technically minded workers.

As Andy has progressed through her course, she has shown great improvement in both her technical knowledge and her approach to solving problems. She has developed a strong foundation for tackling complex issues with a sound methodical approach, which I’m sure will continue to evolve as she is exposed to a greater variety of challenges at work.

I have no doubt she will succeed in her ‘Grand Prix career’ and I feel comfortable to recommend MAST as providing an excellent basis for which she can continue her onward progression.


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