YOUNG people who have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns are being offered funded sailing programmes in Scotland to help them develop self-confidence and self-esteem.

Launched by sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston some 50 successful candidates will take part in a funded sailing course along the west coast of Scotland this summer on board a 68ft Clipper Race training yacht.

Under the guidance of a Clipper Race training skipper, each group of young people will be challenged to learn new practical skills, develop their self belief and work as a team.

Organisers Our Isles and Oceans say they want those aged 18-35 from across the UK who the scheme is targeted at, to "apply their 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, which provides funded sailing programmes and creates youth development initiatives across the country, said it hopes 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," it said.

"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.

HeraldScotland:

"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."

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.

“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.”

The 50 successful candidates will take part in a funded sailing course on a 68ft training yacht.

HeraldScotland:

Under the guidance of a Clipper Race Training Skipper, each group of recruits will be challenged to learn new practical skills, develop self-belief and work as a team.

Another 10 of the 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 headquarters in Gosport, Hampshire.

If successful, they would receive a funded place on board the 70ft 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 group says.

"The Our Isles and Oceans team will compete alongside other organisations and cities and will visit notable ports across the world."

Isles and Oceans says group says that the focus of recruitment is not based on past job or work experience but will instead be based on an applicant’s ambition to take part.

The campaign begins with the first series of sailing programmes in July 2021.

Isles and Oceans founder David Stewart Howitt, said: “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.

“We 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.”

Applications are being accepted via www.ourislesandoceans.co.uk and will be open till July 19.