Young Leaders Development Programme

A chance for young people to develop their leadership skills, take part in more adventurous sailing, and to volunteer in the community and on our boats.

The Young Leader Development Programme harnesses the enthusiasm and talent of twelve past crewmembers. It provides further hard and soft-skills training and a Challenge Voyage during which they train to become Bosuns and Watch Leaders.

Afterwards, the YLDP participants will work with a local community group and apply their new life skills ashore. After graduating they will support hundreds more young people in their adventures under sail as Sea Staff abroad OYT Scotland vessels.

Here are some insights from some previous YLDP participants:

YLDP 2014 – trailer

YLDP 2015

The 2015 Young Leader Development Programme (YLDP) funded by the Big Lottery Young Start Fund saw 12 young people from across Scotland complete their Challenge Voyage on Alba Venturer. The crew started in Oban and sailed all the way to Shetland and back in just 12 days. Natasha (18) comments on her experience “It has been a life changing opportunity that will shape our future for the better and we are all looking forward to coming back as sea staff!”.

Young Leaders 2015


YLDP 2017 – We are now recruiting!

Minimum requirement:

  • Have sailed aboard, at least one OYT Scotland youth voyage.
  • Aged 16 years or over, before the start of the programme.
  • You must be able to commit your time to the dates in the programme, and be committed to developing your skills afloat and ashore.

Stage 1 – Application & Selection

Young people must first be recommended by their Skipper. They are then invited to apply. The closing date for 2017 applications is 30th November 2016.

Stage 2 – Planning and Team Building Weekend

This weekend normally held in early spring on-board one of the Trust’s vessels, is an opportunity for our new Young Leaders recruits to meet and get to know each other and plan and prepare for their challenge voyage later in the summer. The weekend will also include some basic training in Bosun duties along with an introduction to the RYA Essential Navigation and Seamanship Course and SQA Leadership Award. A fundraising workshop will also be included.

During the two days participants will

  • Attend a presentation delivered by staff and have the opportunity to ask any questions.
  • Participate in a planning session, focusing on your fundraising targets and ideas. You will need to fundraise £600 towards your berth fees.
  • Attend an information session in preparation for your Challenge Voyage.
  • Meet key members of staff and the Sea Staff due to sail on your Challenge Voyage.
  • Participate in teambuilding exercises.

Participants are encouraged to stay in contact with other participants via Facebook and emails as the programme and planning develops.

Stage 3 – Online Navigation Course and Leadership Unit 1

This stage involves our Young Leaders completing the RYA Online Essential Navigation and Seamanship Course and Unit 1 of the SQA Leadership Award.

In total these two self-study courses take around 16 hours each to complete. The Young Leaders will have approximately a four month period to complete these.

Stage 4 – Challenge Voyage

The highlight of the programme is a long adventurous challenge voyage (around 10 days duration) where the Young Leaders will be encouraged and supported to take on progressively more and more responsibility. They will all have the opportunity to take on leadership roles throughout the voyage to complete Unit 2 of the SQA Leadership Award, work towards the RYA Watch Leader Qualification and continue with Bosun’s Training.

Stage 5 – Sailing as Sea Staff or Further Training

Some of our Young Leaders should now be ready to sail as Bosun or Trainee Watch Leader and will be encouraged to book an appropriate Sea Staff berth (subject to availability) before the end of the sailing season. For those that feel they need more training, they will be able to book on a Bosun or Seamanship Training Weekend.

Stage 6 – Refit Weekend

The Young Leaders will attend a refit weekend during the winter to learn more about the boats, their systems and Health and Safety.

Stage 7 – Seminar and Presentation

The programme culminates with the Young Leaders attending the OYT Scotland annual Training Seminar in February where they will jointly give a presentation about their experiences and achievements and will also have the opportunity to complete one of the RYA Shore Courses such as First Aid, Diesel Engine Maintenance and an OYT Scotland Youth Work Module.


How do I apply?

Please click here to download our application form (must be saved to your PC before you can complete).

Once you’ve filled it in, please email it to or post it to us at:

Ocean Youth Trust Scotland

Victoria House

5 East Blackhall Street


PA15 1HD


RYA TC Logo Final


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Ocean Youth Trust Scotland
Victoria House, 5 East Blackhall Street, Greenock, PA15 1HD
Tel: +44 (0) 1475 722 722

Registered Charity, No. SC029531