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Operation rescue;Career development

Susannah Kirkman meets a former teacher who took the plunge (and a pay cut) and embarkedon a new career

The call of the sea eventually proved too strong for teacher and lifeboatwoman Anne Millman. She took a pound;5,000 drop in salary when she went from her post as second in command in the science department at Medina High School on the Isle of Wight to a new career as youth promotion co-ordinator at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, based in Poole, Dorset.

A keen diver and sailor, Anne has always been drawn to the sea. Born and bred in Plymouth, she had also worked at a field studies centre on the Isle of Arran. On the Isle of Wight, she manned a rescue boat for the Schools' Sailing Association. Then, two years before she joined the RNLI, she took part in an industryeducation exchange, helping with the training of lifeboat crews at the in-shore lifeboat centre at Cowes.

"I was completely fired up by the experience," she recalls. "It was wonderful getting out on the water. Meeting the RNLI crews and seeing them working together also made me realise what a worthwhile cause it is."

When the RNLI job came up, Anne was still happy working in teaching, so she didn't find it easy to decide to apply. "I wasn't planning to change jobs," she says, "but I knew that if I didn't try for it, I would always wonder 'What if?' " Anne particularly enjoys the variety of her work. She prepares education packs and videos about the RNLI for children aged five to 16, which link in to the national curriculum. Her pack for five to seven-year-olds was recently used by the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority as the basis for reading tests at key stage 1.

Anne also runs Storm Force, a club for young lifeboat supporters, which involves producing a newsletter four times a year and organising members' rallies throughout the UK.

Staying in touch with members' needs and with the latest changes in the RNLI means plenty of travel. But when she's at home, Anne still manages to help crew the Poole lifeboats. She finds that the most stressful aspects of her work are meeting deadlines and not being free to impose her own priorities.

Teaching skills such as developing new resources and liaising with children and adults have proved invaluable at the RNLI. "You often think your teaching experience won't cross over, but teachers do develop many skills they often don't acknowledge," says Anne.

For information about the RNLI's information packs contact: Anne Millman, RNLI, West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset, BH15 1HZ.Tel: 01202 663000.

Sea change: Anne Millman's new conditions

Job Youth promotion co-ordinator for RNLI Salary pound;21,350 Holidays 25 days a year Experience 10 years as a science teacher.

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