Leading Lights Project

In 2018 Ormiston Trust, together with the Association of Sail Training Oranisations, The Honourable Company of Master Mariners and Trinity House, partnered together to create a unique and exciting project. The Leading Lights Project gave Year 9 & 10 students from Ormiston academies, the opportunity to participate in a sailing adventure with inspirational leaders in business.

This exciting opportunity enabled students and business people, to work and learn together on board a fully-crewed sailing ship. On board were a professional crew from the Ocean Youth Trust South who taught the skills that were required to sail. Both students and professionals alike – many of whom had never sailed before – were actively involved in every aspect of sailing the boat, from hoisting and lowering sails, steering, navigation, anchoring, cooking and keeping watch.

At the heart of the project, the aim was to enable the students to recognise that they can achieve more, exceed their own expectations and push themselves out of their comfort zone. Our goal was to increase their resilience and determination to ultimately raise their aspirations in life (see the list below for the details of aims). 

The business people spent time chatting to, and coaching the students, which involved talking to them about aspirations and careers; providing advice, opening-up networks and helping to build the students’ confidence.

Either side of the voyages, each of the Ormiston academies worked with the successful candidates to further the development of their aspirations, and get them thinking about how they might get more involved in their schools and communities. This work was in the form of sessions around careers, inspirational speakers and much more. 

We were awarded Standard 1 from Project Oracle meaning that we had a project model, Theory of Change and an evaluation plan in place which were all certified.

Outcomes and benefits

Below were the potential outcomes for the students taking part:

Increased self-esteem and confidence
Increased determination and motivation
Greater resilience to challenges
Greater teamworking and co-oporation
Expanding horizons and open to learning new things

The overall aim was to increase the life chances of the students as they recognise that they can achieve more and their aspirations for their futures will increase as they are more resilient and determined to do better in their lives. 


Leading Lights was set up in partnership with Ormiston Trust, the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO), The Honourable Company of Master Mariners (HCMM) and Trinity House.

Links to each of the partner websites can be found below:


The project works with students from Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT) which is a subsidiary of the Ormiston Trust. Further information about OAT can be found on their website here.


We would like to thank the following sponsors for their kind support:

  • Intrinsic Wealth
  • Captain Nicholas Paines – Newman Giles Paines & Co Ltd
  • Swire Charitable Trust
  • U.K Gas Technologies Group