As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, national youth work charity, Ocean Youth Trust Scotland, has appointed a new Sailing and Development Manager – forming an all-female management team for the first time in the organisation’s history.
Peta Koczy (26), originally from Inverness, will begin her role as Sailing and Development Manager, assuming responsibility for the efficient management, operation and safety of the charity’s vessels. Her appointment at the Greenock based charity will mean the management team is entirely female in an industry traditionally dominated by men.
Peta has worked in sail training for ten years; her enthusiasm and work ethic having caught the attention of the Trust while sailing on a youth voyage from Inverness to Oban at 15 years old. On being invited to return as a volunteer Bosun, Peta soon joined Ocean Youth Trust Scotland as a cadet before working her way up to first mate. In 2016, she took a role at Ocean Youth Trust South in Gosport as Sailing Support Officer where she was quickly promoted to Staff Skipper at just 23 years old, commanding the charity’s 32m ketch ‘Prolific’.
Ocean Youth Trust Scotland is a floating outdoor education centre, supporting more than 700 young people each year through week-long residential youth work voyages at sea. The charity works with a range of young people including school groups, young carers, sailing clubs, care experienced young people and those with additional support needs. Aboard its two sail training vessels, the Trust delivers life-changing voyages, furnishing young people with life and social skills, teaching them about team work, resilience, responsibility and environmental awareness.
The Trust has been unable to deliver its youth work since March 2020 and recently joined politicians in a campaign fronted by Scottish Adventurers Mollie Hughes and Marc Beaumont to launch a vision paper “Thriving Through Residential Outdoor Education.” The paper seeks to guarantee all young people in Scotland the chance to benefit from residential outdoor education experiences.
On International Women’s Day 2019, the World Sailing Trust released its Strategic Review into Women in Sailing, a report that highlighted the gender imbalance in the world of sailing while making a case for change to address disparities within the sport. The report identified a lack of female participation and support for women and girls as well as a poor perception of women in sailing. This is an issue OYT Scotland has worked to address with the introduction of female only voyages, scheduled in 2021.
On her appointment, Peta commented: “It’s wonderful to be returning to Scotland and to the organisation where it all started for me. My primary aim is to help the Trust emerge from the pandemic; get back to delivering youth work to the young people who need it most, and to support our staff and volunteer base to get back on the water safely.”
On the issue of women in sailing, she continued: “My experience is that sail training as an industry has good gender diversity and I have worked with some incredible women. However, the industry still has further to go to become more diverse. I have been lucky to have had some incredible female mentors in my career who have helped and inspired me.
“As a sail training charity, we are well placed to help inspire young women to consider a career in sailing but also to be inspired by our diverse range of successful female volunteers and to follow the career ambitions they choose.”
Hazel Wiseman, General Manager of Ocean Youth Trust Scotland, commented: “We’re excited to have Peta joining the management team, bringing with her a wealth of experience in youthwork and sail training as we look to emerge from this pandemic.
“As the world comes together to mark International Women’s Day, we want to celebrate the fact that Ocean Youth Trust Scotland is led and managed by an entirely female team in an industry where women have not always been equally represented.”