Second Mate (Seasonal)

Gordonstoun has been leading the way in character education for more than 80 years.  Our uniquely broad curriculum provides challenge in the classroom, on the sea and on the mountain, on the stage and on the sports field, and enables students to discover the truth in our motto – Plus Est En Vous – there is more in you.  

The School

Gordonstoun is located in an impressive and attractive 150 acre estate in the temperate climate of Moray. It is six miles from Elgin which has a British Rail main-line station.  Inverness or Aberdeen, to which there are regular flights from most UK airports, are within one and two hours respectively, and there is straightforward access on good roads to Edinburgh, Glasgow and the rest of Scotland.

The Senior School has almost 500 students aged 13 to 18, most of whom are full boarders.  The School has been fully co-educational for thirty seven years.  Aberlour House, the Junior School situated on the same campus, has over 100 pupils aged 6 -13.  Each year approximately 60 students join at Year 9 (13 plus) and 60 come into the Sixth Form.  Approximately a third of the students are resident in Scotland, a third in other parts of the United Kingdom and a third in other parts of the world, reflecting our international ethos.

The School is also known for the wide range of activities, which it provides for its’ students throughout the School.  It has first-class facilities for these activities which include all the usual subjects and sports as well as outdoor education, expeditions and seamanship and a wide variety of rescue and community services.  The creative life of the School as a whole, including Music, Art, Drama and Dance, is vibrant, well-developed and central to both the life and ethos of Gordonstoun.  The School has significant and advanced facilities in Information Technology.  There are many opportunities to contribute beyond the classroom and involvement in school life in the broadest sense is expected from all members of staff.  The successful applicant will have skills and ideally qualifications to contribute to the broader curriculum.

The staff at Gordonstoun comes from a variety of backgrounds and is united in their belief in the holistic ethos of the School.  There is a real community amongst the staff and Morayshire is a delightful place to live and staff are deeply committed. The variety and range of activities, coupled with a real commitment to work and the involvement of all staff in pastoral care, as tutors in a boarding house, reflect the School’s family environment and its aim to educate the whole person.


The Seasonal Second Mate is a key member of the Sail Training team and plays an important role in the delivery of the Sail Training programme at Gordonstoun.  Work is usually on board Ocean Spirit of Moray Gordonstoun’s 80 foot Sail Training ketch and employment is on a fixed term contract (2 April - 13 October 2018) for the whole of Ocean Spirit’s sailing season.  The Sail Training Department has a busy programme that requires staff to work on board Ocean Spirit (normally based at Plockton on the West Coast of Scotland) for up to three weeks at a time.  In compensation for this paid time off the boat which is in addition to annual leave, is granted at a rate of one week for every three weeks worked on board.

Sail Training at Gordonstoun

Sail Training Voyages for students in years 8, 10 and 12 are a key part of the unique curriculum at Gordonstoun and these trips make up the majority of the vessel’s work.  In addition there may also be voyages for groups from the wider community for both sail training and recreational trips.  Ocean Spirit’s programme normally includes a longer summer voyage, which may include participation in international Tall Ships Races or extended expedition voyages to more remote locations. 

Second Mate’s role and responsibilities

Safeguarding children

Promoting Gordonstoun


The salary will be £12,000.00 per annum (pro rata)

As part of the remuneration package, accommodation and meals are provided on campus at no cost during periods of time off between voyages. Please note that there are some conditions to the provision of accommodation which will be explained at interview.

Candidates must be over 21 years of age.

These notes are for general information only and the appointment will be subject to signature of formal conditions of employment.  Candidates wishing to be considered for this post should complete the school’s application form (Word or PDF format) and submit a letter of application outlining why they feel they are suitable candidates for this post to

The closing date for applications is 28 February 2018

Person Specification


Essential: Experience in positions of responsibility aboard Sail Training vessels over 20 meters LOA.
Desirable: Powerboat driving; Maintenance and Refit experience; Knowledge of Safety Management Systems.
Assessment Method: Interview and Probationary period on board


Essential: RYA Day Skipper/Watch Leader certificates or above; First Aid Certificate; MCA ENG1 Certificate of medical fitness.
Desirable: Commercial Endorsement.  RYA Powerboat level 2; RYA Diesel Engine Course; Firefighting course; Food Hygiene course.
Assessment Method: Certificates to be shown at interview

Skills/Abilities (general)

Essential: Ability to work effectively as part of a small professional team; Good organisational and communication skills, particularly when working under pressure; Is able to maintain a good situational awareness with regard to the safety of others; Is able to work constructively with young people in challenging situations; Is enthusiastic about passing on their interests and passions for sailing and the maritime environment.
Desirable: Have an understanding and commitment to the general values and ethos of the school; A commitment to doing the best for students from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Assessment Method: Interview and probationary period on board

Skills/Abilities (specific to post)

Essential: Ability to lead a watch of 5 or 6 Trainees in all aspects of the voyage including domestic tasks; Ability to keep a watch at sea with support from senior staff; Ability to safely lead all deck work tasks including setting reefing and lowering sails; Can sail to a standard that allows them to trim and adjust sails without support from senior staff; Can follow procedures for carrying out emergency drills.
Desirable: Familiar with vessel maintenance and recording systems; Able to assist with basic repair tasks and equipment checks; If suitably qualified, can run RIB and Launch transfers to/from the vessel and the shore; Is able to contribute to the debriefing and appraisal of Trainees.
Assessment Method: Interview and Probationary period on board

Interpersonal skills and social skills

Essential: Fit and in good health; Happy to spend extended periods living and working on board sail training vessel in shared accommodation; Is able to interact socially with young people in a positive and appropriate way.
Desirable: Has experience in conflict management.
Assessment Method: Interview and Probationary period on board


Essential: Suitable to work with children; A full PVG check will be completed on the successful candidate.
Assessment Method: PVG check process

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