Second Mate Vacancy

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.

Second Mate on board Ocean Spirit

(2020 Sailing Season – fixed term)

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 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

§ Assisting the Skipper and First Mate with running the vessel, normally taking charge of and leading a watch of five or six trainees under the supervision of a senior staff member.

§ Ensuring that safety procedures set out in the vessel’s Safety Management System are adhered to.

§ Instructing and supervising Trainees in all aspects of the voyage including deck work, watch keeping, seamanship and domestic duties.

§ To act as Relief First Mate (separate Job Description below).

§ Acting on their own initiative to build a positive working relationship with Trainees in order to help achieve the objectives of the voyage.

§ Keeping a watch at sea with support from the Skipper or First Mate.

§ Leading deck work tasks including hoisting, lowering and reefing sails.

§ Assisting with the day to day maintenance of the vessel.

§ Supervising shore leave when required.

§ Supervising the crew on transport when travelling between Gordonstoun and the boat.

§ To contribute to the appraisal of Trainees including a formal end of voyage debrief.

§ To assist with victualing and storing of the vessel.

§ Assisting with preparation of the vessel pre-season, and de-storing and laying up at the end

§ Assisting with the delivery of the vessel at the start and end of the sailing season.

§ Attending departmental staff meetings

§ Attending appropriate staff INSET sessions

§ Post holders may occasionally be assigned other duties during non-sailing periods in the vessel’s programme.

Additional responsibilities when sailing as Relief First Mate

§ To act as the Skippers Executive Officer and to deputise for the Skipper in his or her absence

§ To comply with and implement the safety management policies and procedures set out in the Safety Management System

§ To act as Officer of the Watch and to be responsible for the safe operation and navigation of the vessel in alternation with the skipper.

§ To ensure that Trainees are briefed in all aspects of safety.

§ To instruct trainees in elements of the RYA Cruising Scheme when required.

§ To supervise trainees whilst ashore when required

§ To contribute to the appraisal of Trainees including a formal end of voyage debrief.

§ Assisting with the supervision of crew transfers by tender when Ocean Spirit is based at the Plockton Mooring.

  • To oversee and carry out the daily, weekly, monthly maintenance routines on board the vessel and to keep written records of work carried out.
  • To assist with any repairs necessary on a day to day basis and to oversee and carry out planned maintenance during breaks in the sailing programme.

Safeguarding children

§ The post holder has a responsibility for promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children and young people

§ This includes children that they are responsible for and come in contact with. The post holder must adhere to and ensure compliance with the school’s Child Protection Policy and Procedures at all times.

Promoting Gordonstoun

§ The post holder may be asked to help with promotional events or voyages aboard Ocean Spirit.

§ Ocean Spirit plays a unique role in helping to promote Gordonstoun to the wider world and as such the vessel, its staff and trainees are considered ambassadors for the School in every port visited.


The salary for this post is £16,500.00 p/a paid pro rata for the contract period. This rate includes payment for any periods that the post holder is asked to sail in the role of Acting First Mate. Additionally 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 and submit a letter of application outlining why they feel they are suitable candidates for this post to

Please also refer to the job description

The closing date for applications is 11th December 2020 Interviews will be held January 2021.

Recruitment process

Applicants are invited to complete an operational application form. CVs will only be accepted as supporting documentation.

Application Forms for Operational positions can be downloaded here

Child Protection

All employees of Gordonstoun are responsible for promoting and safeguarding the welfare of children and young persons and must adhere to and ensure compliance with the School’s Child protection Policies.


The post-holder will be required to have an up to date satisfactory PVG check