From a York Studio to Volunteering with the Sea Cadets


York Studio Manager Lucy Artley of York-based United by Design, thought her dreams of being involved with the Royal Navy were over when her dancing hobby exacerbated a medical problem. However Lucy (27) has now found a way to follow her aspirations by volunteering with the Sea Cadets.

Lucy, who lives in Holgate in the city, had always wanted to study marine biology with a view to using the degree in a career with the Royal Navy, however hip problems and subsequent surgery ruled out a naval career.

“I had to defer University for a year,” said Lucy. “And during that time I decided that perhaps marine biology wasn’t for me. I enrolled at Harrogate College and undertook a Foundation Degree in Fashion Marketing and Retail followed by a third-year top-up in Business Management at York College.

“I did some retail work after I left college but felt I really wanted to do something creative, which is how I came to United by Design. Initially I worked one day per week as a volunteer, then three days a week as a freelancer, before securing a full-time position as Studio Manager.”

Lucy thoroughly enjoys her role at The Mount-based design agency, but she still held a fascination with the forces.

A chance meeting with Richard Lenton, Regional Employer Engagement Director for the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA), whilst networking for United by Design, prompted Lucy, who comes from a military family, to look into a role as an adult volunteer with the Sea Cadets.

Richard said: “Lucy is exactly the type of person who would make an excellent adult volunteer. She’s ambitious, hardworking and professional as well as being very creative – bringing skills and experience from her design agency job as Studio Manager. She also has some knowledge of the Armed Forces.

“I suggested that she should look into volunteering with the Sea Cadets as it was an option that was still very much open to her and would give her that Military ‘fix’ she was still craving.”

Lucy contacted York Sea Cadets and went along to their AGM last October, before completing the paperwork necessary to become a fully-fledged adult volunteer.

She said: “Joining the Sea Cadets was a challenge, but it was one I was determined to see through. I had no experience of the cadet structure or of drills or colours or anything like that so it was a very fast learning curve.

“There are lots of things I do that I’ve never experienced before but it’s fantastic to be part of an organisation where there is no prejudice, where people hold the same values and there’s a real sense of belonging.”

Lucy is currently Acting Petty Officer, a promotion she achieved after she attended the Adult Induction Course at Beckingham Camp earlier in the year.

“I would urge anyone considering getting involved with the cadets to come and check it out,” she said. “It’s surprising how easy it is to get involved and balance your volunteering with your career. And although we’re there to help the cadets develop and grow, it’s a chance for the adults to enjoy new experiences and make friends, plus we are continually learning new skills that can be used in a professional capacity.”

To learn more about volunteering as an adult instructor with either the Sea Cadets, Army Cadets or Air Cadets please click here

Reserve Forces