40 week Boat Building, Maintenance and Support course
The 40 week Boat Building, Maintenance and Support course, incorporating City & Guilds 2463 Level 3 Diploma in Marine Construction, Systems Engineering and Maintenance (the technical certificate of an apprenticeship) is our flagship course. It gives students the skills to find jobs in the marine industry or establish themselves as boat builders in their own right, although some students join the course for a sabbatical or on retirement and have no plans to work in the marine industry.
There is no upper age limit and the course caters for those changing career (at whatever age) as well as the school leaver. You do not need woodworking skills in order to apply (everyone starts from the same point – the beginning) but a mature attitude, motivation, a high level of commitment and willingness to pursue the highest standards are vital.
The syllabus goes way beyond the requirements of the City & Guilds qualification, giving comprehensive practical instruction covering traditional and modern wood construction methods and composites, as well as allied skills (e.g. wooden boat restoration and oar making). The course is 92% practical.
At the beginning of each course there is a group discussion between students, Instructors, Training Manager and Principal about what boats will be built by the group. The builds will cover a range of construction methods and be up to a maximum of 16 foot in length (although exceptions are made, depending on workshop space and other boats being built). Some students may prefer to concentrate on one build, but all students are required to work on the whole range of craft in order to get as much practical experience of different boat building techniques as possible.
The combination of the City & Guilds qualification and building a range of boats chosen for their educational value is unique to the Academy. If you are considering joining the course you should be aware that the training is intensive and demanding, requiring a high level of commitment. Due to the small size of our school and high Instructor to student ratio we take only eighteen students on each ‘long’ course. Each course is allocated two Instructors who spend a minimum of forty hours a week with their group.
There are two start dates per year and we allocate places to students on a first-come-first-served basis on receipt of a completed application form. Dates for the next courses are:
- 21 August 2017 – 1 June 2018
- 26 February 2018 – 7 December 2018
- 20 August 2018 – 14 June 2019
The ‘long’ course commences with a six week joinery foundation course. Once people have their joinery skills in place the syllabus covers the following skill areas:
- Traditional Boatbuilding
- Modern Wooden Boatbuilding
- Fibre Reinforced Plastic Boatbuilding and Fit Out
- Yacht Joinery
- Spar and Oar Making
- Engine Beds and Stern Tubes
- Finishing Coatings and Compounds
- Rigging, Chandlery and Cordage
- Sail Making and Repair
- Marine Systems (Five days at Rob Perry Marine, a marine engineering company ten minutes from the Academy. An RYA ‘Diesel Engine’ certificate and Rob Perry Marine certificate are awarded on successful conclusion of the week).
Groups move from the upstairs workshop and become the ‘downstairs’ group in the main workshop after three months. It is at this stage that they start building their group boats.
Find out more about who joins our courses by taking a look at our boat building students page. This page gives details of our many of our past classes, including individual profiles for almost 300 of our past students – where they came from, what they did, and why they decided to join the course. The paths students take after the course are as diverse as the students themselves – take a look at our Graduate Case Studies page for a details on what a representative sample of our graduates are doing now.