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Sea Rangers Service reaches the UKwith youngsters being paid to protect our oceans

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First launching in The Netherlands in 2016, the Sea Rangers Service is now running from Port Talbot and there are hopes to expand the scheme to Portsmouth and Grimsby

First launching in The Netherlands in 2016, the Sea Rangers Service is now running from Port Talbot and there are hopes to expand the scheme to Portsmouth and Grimsby.

News correspondent @rachaelvenables

Saturday 11 May 2024 06:00, UK

A social enterprise that hopes to train young people to protect the ocean has expanded to the UK.

The Sea Rangers Service is now running from Port Talbot, after first launching in The Netherlands in 2016.

They hope to restore one million hectares of ocean biodiversity by 2040, while training 20,000 young people, mainly from coastal areas, into maritime careers.

Its founder, Wietse Van Der Werf, told Sky News that inspiration for the scheme "originated from the idea that, on the one hand, we need to better protect the oceans and the environment. And on the other hand, in many coastal areas, there's high unemployment. And it would be amazing to create jobs in these regions."

To that end, applicants must be aged between 18 and 29, and, before being selected, take part in a gruelling boot camp run by Royal Navy veterans, designed to test their teamwork and motivation.

Successful recruit Selena, said being paid to be a Sea Ranger was an amazing opportunity to protect the environment in her local areawhich crucially didn't rely on qualifications.

"I finished school, I did art in college and was really searching around for what I wanted to do.

"Eventually I decided on something in marine conservation, but there wasn't much... The closest thing you could get was whale watching in North Wales, and that's miles away.

"But then I found this andliterally like 10 minutes laterI signed up."

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For fellow Ranger Isaac, his family were "amazed" that "something like this was available to someone like me".

He beams as he tells Sky News he's "found a real passion".

The work they'll do, Van Der Werf explains, involves "anything from scrubbing the deck, cleaning the toilets, preparing food, but also preparing the navigation of the various journeys we take".


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"But once we have an assignment that really involves all types of environmental monitoring, surveying, environmental research," adds Mr Van Der Werf.

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