John Laing sailing

Staff Cadet 2022-23

ARCHIVE PAGE - closing date now past

This is a fantastic opportunity to spend two years working as part of a highly-skilled, enthusiastic and friendly team, helping young people from all backgrounds to develop the skills to succeed in life on board Ocean Youth Trust South's beautiful sail training vessel Prolific, while gaining the skills, qualifications and experience which could open the door to a fantastic career in sail training.


The Staff Cadet role is a two-year training position which recognises that most paid work in sail training is for experienced and qualified skippers and mates, and it can be hard for less experienced people to get a start in the industry if they cannot afford the time and cost needed to gain their qualifications except in a paid role.

OYT South's Staff Cadet will be aged 18+ and will be starting at RYA Competent Crew, Watchleader or Day Skipper level. Over two years you will work on board Prolific during the sailing season and at the vessel refit in winter. You should be able to sail as bosun from the start of the 2022 season and to qualify as a third mate as soon as possible. Over the two years you should gain experience plus practical and theory qualifications to enable you to move on to work as a mate with another organisation and perhaps eventually to become a skipper.

You will need to be enthusiastic, hard-working, a great team player and a good role model for the young people who sail with us.

Start date negotiable but certainly before March 2022.

The salary is pegged to the minimum wage for your age but is worth rather more in practice because your accommodation and food are provided while you are at work.

This would be an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the right person and could set you on a path to a career in sailing that perhaps you never dreamed would be possible for you.

Giving Young People the Skills to Succeed in Life

OYT South uses Adventure Under Sail for the personal development of young people aged 11-25. A majority – though not all – of our young crew members come from disadvantaged backgrounds. This can include young carers; children who have been bullied, bereaved, abused or neglected; young people in care; individuals with physical or learning difficulties or emotional or behavioural problems; young people from families affected by substance abuse or mental health issues; those who have been excluded from school; young people not in education, employment or training; young offenders; and many more. But crew members can also come from mainstream backgrounds and may include high achievers or people working towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award.

All this means that while young people can and do learn to sail with us, the priority on most voyages is about using the vessel and the sea to develop things like confidence, teamworking, coping with unfamiliar situations, dealing with setbacks, communication and co-operation.

The role of Staff Cadet is therefore just as much about youthwork as it is about seamanship and sailing.

Vessel refit and maintenance

In winter, the Cadet will be working on Prolific's refit and maintenance and will also be involved in ongoing routine maintenance during the sailing season. The Cadet should therefore have a practical outlook and be interested in developing technical skills.


The Staff Cadet works on a pattern which will average roughly four weeks on board and two weeks ashore during the sailing season from mid-March to early November. The periods ashore include relief time but also time for administration, etc.

Outside the season the Cadet will be working on vessel maintenance, refit and sea trials and although this should average a five-day working week this will involve significant weekend working with weekdays off in lieu.

The Cadet will be required to live on board the vessel or in a refit house except when on relief, and will therefore need to be prepared to spend significant periods away from home..


Pegged to the minimum wage for your age, but worth more because accommodation and food are provided while at work.


Apply using this application form, by email to

Closing date: Friday 7th January 2022.

A more detailed job description is available here.




“I have learnt and seen loads of new things and I will remember for the rest of my life! ” Jemima, aged 12