Ayrshire Young People Gain their Sea Legs and New Skills

The image is taken looking down on Alba Explorer from the dock. Young people are sitting along the edge and at the cockpit and smiling towards the camera.

Nine young people from Ayrshire College’s HIVE project took to the water for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Setting sail from James Watt Dock in Greenock on Monday evening, the group embarked on a five-day youth work voyage designed to improve their behaviour, employability, community participation and personal wellbeing.

Supported by OYT Scotland sea staff and volunteers, the young people learned how to take on all aspects of sailing 72ft Challenge boat Alba Explorer, which has previously been sailed around the world.

Duties included rope and sail work, passage planning, helming, and domestic duties required to keep the boat clean and the crew well-fed.

Group Leader Kenny Allison said: “We’d like to thank both OYT Scotland and the CashBack for Communities programme for this amazing opportunity.

“The young people came together as a team and worked really hard on the voyage, and I’m sure that bonds have been made for life.

“This experience shows that it is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your outcome in life.”

By the end of their time at sea, the young people had sailed more than 110 nautical miles and worked towards accredited Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and Royal Yachting Association (RYA) certificates.

Three images in a collage. The left image shows a young person and a group leader standing together, smiling towards the camera. The second picture shows the silhouette of a young person using binoculars, with a sunset in the background. Picture 3 shows two young people posing for a photo with "thumbs up" in the cockpit.

For many participants, these are the first qualifications they have achieved and they mark a transition towards more positive outcomes.

Following their voyage experience, four young people have been recommended to return to the Trust and sail as Bosuns, helping other young people just like them through the experience of youth work on the waves.

This voyage was part our On Board with Cashback project, funded by the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities scheme.

This project will see the funds recovered from crime redirected into youth work, with OYT Scotland supporting a minimum of 248 young people from across Scotland over a three-year period.

Skip to content