A new campaign, Our Isles and Oceans, has launched in Scotland which will create funded programmes for young people affected by the pandemic and lockdown.
The Our Isles and Oceans mission statement is ‘Youth Opportunity and Professional Development for Sustainable Livelihoods’ and intends on, through the vehicle of sport and business, highlighting the importance of a sustainable future for the next generation through activities and partnerships with sustainable organisations and enterprises.
The cornerstone of the project will be a partnership with the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. Through this partnership, Our Isles and Oceans and the Clipper Race will be providing funded sailing programmes for young people to learn to sail on the West Coast of Scotland.
Our Isles and Oceans is calling for 18- to 35-year-olds to apply to its initiative, as the pandemic has had a negative impact on the age group’s education and employment opportunities over the last 15 months.
The charity Young Minds ran surveys earlier this year and found that 67% of young people believe that the pandemic will have a long-term negative effect on their mental health. Our Isles and Oceans aims to provide positive experiences for these young people.
This new project will create social benefits and business growth in the UK, develop enriching participatory events, and spread positivity and inclusion throughout the British Isles. Through the programmes, businesses will work with young people to provide opportunities for professional development and will focus on building confidence and promoting sustainable livelihoods. This will be a training atmosphere where individuals will gain life experiences and will be fun, exciting and unique.
The Clipper Race is the only event of its kind which offers everyday people the opportunity to train to become ocean racing sailors. The confidence built and the skills learnt through the sport of sailing can be transferred from on deck to the workplace which is why the first Our Isles and Oceans programme to launch will take place on a Clipper Race yacht.
This summer, along the West Coast of Scotland, up to 50 successful candidates will take part in a funded sailing course on board an Our Isles and Oceans branded (68 ft) Clipper Race training yacht. Under the guidance of a Clipper Race Training Skipper, each group of recruits will be challenged to learn new practical skills, develop their self-belief and work as a team.
In addition, 10 of these recruits will then be offered the opportunity to apply for an additional four weeks of intensive ocean racing training to be held at the Clipper Race Training HQ in Gosport, Hampshire.
If successful, they would receive a funded place on board the (70 ft) Our Isles and Oceans team entry which will be competing in the Clipper 2023-24 Race. Each recruit would complete one leg of the Clipper Race circumnavigation. Taking part in this endurance challenge would see them face oceans such as the North Pacific, North or South Atlantic and Southern Ocean, carrying the message of Our Isles and Oceans from a national to a global stage. The Our Isles and Oceans team will compete alongside other organisations and cities and will visit notable ports across the world.
With young people being particularly impacted this past year, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, record-breaking sailor and co-founder of the Clipper Race, hopes this new programme will make a positive change in the successful candidates’ lives.
He said: ‘Sailing is so much more than just a sport or pastime as it gives you experience that is as useful in the workplace as it is on board a yacht. The sport develops self-confidence and self-esteem which is so important to restore following the pandemic.
‘Everything you do on board a sailing boat is practical and I feel practical skills have somewhat been lost over the years. Knot tying is one of the obvious skills that will be learnt but the crew will also start to understand the weather, the enormity of the sea and how to cope with them both.
‘Problem solving is key to sail training, as is leadership and teamwork. You’ll often find young people are judged too early. Putting them on a yacht, with a team, is a great equaliser. You’ll see things are picked up quickly and as each challenge is overcome, confidence grows, with a new belief in themselves that they can achieve anything.
Recruitment for the Our Isles and Oceans campaign is now open. Applicants aged 18-35 can apply through www.ourislesandoceans.co.uk. The focus of recruitment will not be based on past job or work experience but will instead be based on an applicant’s ambition to take part in this special programme. The campaign is looking to assist people who may think opportunities such as these are out of their reach.
Our Isles and Oceans Founder, David Stewart Howitt, explained: ‘In these challenging times, Our Isles and Oceans seeks to bring together the powerful forces of business and sport to offer an inspiring opportunity for the youth of today.
‘Our Isles and Oceans will offer applicants the chance to learn from experienced professionals and to push themselves outside their comfort zone to equip them for the challenges of today’s marketplace.
‘Outwardly focused and with a relentlessly positive approach, we at Our Isles and Oceans believe that there is opportunity for all given the right chance. We also want to bring awareness to the plight of the oceans and to promote the importance of sustainable livelihoods.’
The Our Isles and Oceans campaign begins with the first series of sailing programmes in July 2021.
Applications are now being accepted through the website at www.ourislesandoceans.co.uk