An Interview with Jacqui Young, Head of Engineering

Founded in 2002 by Laurence Lewis, YPI CREW has risen in stature and reputation to become the go-to recruitment agency in the Super Yacht Industry and is now operated by an extensive team of experienced professionals. As one of the leading forces in the yachting recruitment industry, YPI CREW consistently matches the finest candidates to a variety of roles on yachts of all sizes.

Jacqui Young is one of our most experienced recruiters and plays an integral part within the team; having left her corporate career in the UK to work for us on the Riviera in 2006, she is now Head of Engineering Recruitment. She is reputably one of the leading experts in her field and highly regarded throughout the industry as having a portfolio of engineers that is second to none. Jacqui has founded strong relationships with key clients and high profile yachts spanning the globe and also candidates from all manner of maritime sectors. These include commercial, merchant and naval fleets, introducing the right calibre of candidates to the industry. Jacqui works hard to find candidates that not only have the right professional fit, but also the right personal fit, for every client.

We interviewed Jacqui to gain an insight into her skills and expertise as a yacht crew recruiter, to find out what advice she would give to engineering applicants hoping to land their dream job and to better understand what employment prospects look like for an engineer in 2016.

Q: What differentiates you as a recruiter from a recruiter in another agency?

I have nearly 10 years of experience building a reputation and relationships within the industry. Having solely specialised in the Engineering sector, I know this industry inside out in respect of the marketplace, necessary qualifications and regulations. As such, I spend a lot of time giving career advice to candidates and both market and salary reviews to clients. I have the ability to listen to clients and candidates to meet the brief for all involved and I am a strong negotiator so will do my best to present our candidates to clients to secure them the best job!

My personal integrity means I’m trusted and well-respected by clients and candidates alike – for some clients, I can send one CV and they will hire on my recommendation alone. I love a challenge; I’m tenacious and my strong work ethic means I will go the extra mile and find a solution so I’m good in a crisis – and we get a lot of those in the summer months!

Most importantly, I love my job! It’s so rewarding when you champion the new starter looking for that lucky break and later receive an email or card saying “you’ve made my dreams come true.’ Some of those former candidates are now senior chief engineer clients who come to me to build the engineering team on their large yachts and that’s the most satisfying part of the job. To nurture someone’s career over the years and see them develop and grow to achieve the highest qualified jobs is what it’s all about!

Q: What are your tips to engineers on how to stand out from the crowd to land a top job?

Work on getting your CV right. A strong CV makes a strong first impression. Consider the audience – an owner who could be the leader of a multi-billion corporation may be reviewing your CV so appreciate the standards he is used to for the corporate world. Why would he accept less for crew whom he will trust his life with at sea? Include a presentable, personable photo and don’t just list the names of yachts and dates. Even at Y1/Class I chief engineer level, it is important to give details of your experience and sell yourself as there is tough competition at all levels. Also, provide details and refer to AV/IT/electrical skills – everything is relevant to what you can bring to the team.

Strong written references are vital in this industry. Some management companies will insist on 3 written references to support your application in addition to the background checks that we make as standard so make sure you ask your captain and Head of Department (if applicable) for a written reference before you leave the yacht.

Attitude is key too: you should have positive interactions with the crew, Heads of Department, guests, contractors and everyone else you need to work with. Never underestimate the importance of this as these are key factors that clients will discuss with your referees.

Longevity and commitment is also the key to success and make sure you build a relationship with your recruitment consultant. He/she is the one that will champion you above others to get the dream job – how can they do this if they don’t know you?

Q: What is your view on the marketplace for engineers in 2016?

It is vibrant! Last year we saw a 25% increase in the number of jobs received on the engineering desk and we anticipate a steady increase over the upcoming years. We are now seeing new builds of +90m, so we’re placing teams of chiefs, 2nds, 3rds and Electro-Technical Officers (ETOs) as opposed to individuals on a 40-50m range or two on a 50-70m range.

We have received lots of jobs from the beginning of 2016 and that only looks set to increase in the months ahead. The engineering desk remains consistently busy from January to December. However, we’re as efficient as ever and planning ahead, we introduced Anna Horak to the Engineering team in January (previously from the Deck department) so we are in a strong position for the peak season that is upon us and the rest of the year.

In her spare time, aside from shoe shopping and house renovations, Jacqui is still mastering the art of balancing on two planks and staying upright whilst schussing down the snow covered pistes in winter.

If you are interested in applying for a position on a yacht,please contact us for more information. Like the Facebook page of YPI CREW to keep up with the latest jobs.