Graduate Case Studies

The student case studies show what a representative sample of people have gone on to do after longer courses. Graduates stay in touch with each other and the Academy via the Academy-run private graduates’ group. The Academy is regularly contacted by employers, people who need work completed on their boats (or a gate making, or a cabin wood panelled, or tables for their restaurant) which, because the Academy does no commercial work, is passed on to the graduates via the network. Boats for sale, boats free to a good home, news and items of interest are also posted.

Graduates are working at, to name a few, Spirit Yachts, Elephant Boatyard, Cockwells, Sunseeker and T. Nielsen and Co. and Douglas Marine.

40 week Boat Building

Ben Tcharny – Class of September 2012

Ben Tcharny – Class of September 2012

Ben Tcharny is a bespoke furniture maker and joiner, based in South London. Creating and making furniture is a passion that can be judged from both the originality of the design and the quality of the finished article. Using traditional Read More…

Geoff Bowker – Class of 2014

Geoff Bowker – Class of 2014

    Geoff graduated from the Boat Building Academy in the summer of 2014, following a thirty-five-year career in the Royal Navy. Though already qualified as a Yacht & Small Craft Marine Surveyor, Geoff’s love of woodworking and boats meant Read More…

Lee Ulyat – Class of September 2014

Lee Ulyat – Class of September 2014

Lee served in the 7th Parachute Regiment R.H.A and worked in Iraq, Afghanistan and the UK as a security consultant and bodyguard. Eventually it was time to look for a more family friendly career. Boat building ticked all the boxes. Read More…

Brooke Ricketts – Class of March 2014

Brooke Ricketts – Class of March 2014

Brooke relocated from Chesapeake Bay in Maryland to Dorset with his British wife and two children.  He was General Manager of Switching Operations for Inter-Rail Transport, USA for 10 years before deciding it was time for a change.  With a Read More…

Keith McIlwain – Class of September 2013

Keith McIlwain – Class of September 2013

At age 16 Keith left school and followed his passion for sailing, moving to Southend to become a sailmaker. After five years he moved on through various sales and marketing roles. Some 34 years later, following a battle with cancer Read More…

James Dickson – Class of September 2013

James Dickson – Class of September 2013

James comes from a fishing family but made a career in the law, becoming a partner in a leading Scottish law firm where he specialised in social and ethical finance and in funding renewable energy projects. He kept a Boat Read More…

Brian Reford – Class of March 2013

Brian Reford – Class of March 2013

Brian started rebuilding Land Rovers at 13.  At 16 his school arranged a week’s work experience at Henwood and Dean and Brian’s ambition to become a boat builder was launched. He took ‘A’ Levels in Design and Technology, Physics and Photography. Read More…

Tom Oughton – Class of March 2013

Tom Oughton – Class of March 2013

Tom joined the Weymouth Canoe Lifeguards at 13 and went on to work as a lifeguard and activity instructor for PGL in France when he was older.  He wanted a ‘skill-based’ career that was both practical and included problem solving.  Read More…

Charlie Couture – Class of September 2012

Charlie Couture – Class of September 2012

Charlie was always a keen sailor and had competed in the Cowes, Falmouth and Yarmouth classic yacht regattas. Charlie joined us from Guernsey, wanting to take a path combining boat building with his interest in class boats.  Since he graduated Read More…

Luke Browne – Class of September 2012

Luke Browne – Class of September 2012

After leaving school in Launceston, Cornwall, Luke spent time travelling in Australia and New Zealand.  When he returned to England he worked in a variety of jobs; as an architectural technician, in property renovation and as a production operator.  But Read More…

Alex Brown – Class of September 2012

Alex Brown – Class of September 2012

Alex studied Design and Technology at university, worked abroad for several years and ran an internet business. He joined the Boat Building Academy to get back into working ‘hands-on’.  Immediately after the course he joined a boat builder in Exeter Read More…

12 week Furniture Making

Laure Maure – Class of September 2017

Laure Maure – Class of September 2017

Before joining the 12-week Woodworking Skills course, Laure worked as an oilfield engineer on rigs and platforms before she worked her way to drilling supervisor at Shell, but in 2015, felt it was time to leave the oilfields and look Read More…

Alex Cunningham – Class of May 2016

Alex Cunningham – Class of May 2016

Alex Cunningham gave up the city and his job as an Architectural Engineering Consultant to develop his woodworking from a hobby to part of his working life.  Alex’s personal project piece was a contemporary writing desk, with a nod to Read More…

Tom Zinovieff – Class of September 2015

Tom Zinovieff – Class of September 2015

Before joining the Academy Tom worked in a variety of roles in the TV and film industry, although he had always been interested in wood and woodworking.  His father is a cabinet maker and Tom enjoyed watching and helping him Read More…

Marc Davies – Class of September 2015

Marc Davies – Class of September 2015

Before coming to the Academy Marc completed a degree in Building Surveying.  He worked for 8 years as a Building Surveyor and Project Manager for a variety of new build and refurbishment projects.  Joining the 12 week Woodworking Skills course Read More…

Caspar Hulacki – Class of September 2015

Caspar Hulacki  – Class of September 2015

West Dorset local Caspar grew up near the Academy.  He worked on a dairy farm in Dorset’s Bride Valley before joining the Academy to learn new creative skills.  After the 12 week course Caspar worked with fellow Boat Building Academy Read More…

Peter Bromwich – Class of January 2015

Peter Bromwich – Class of January 2015

Peter joined the Academy following a career in IT working for House of Fraser, British Car Auctions and most recently as a freelance IT consultant.  Peter first came to the Academy in 2012 on a five day Basic Woodworking short Read More…

Tim Clayton – Class of September 2014

Tim Clayton – Class of September 2014

After 27 years in sales, Tim relocated from Buckinghamshire to West Dorset and decided it was time to do something new, although working with wood wasn’t entirely new to him.  Inspired by a marquetry demonstration seen in his early twenties, Read More…

Bella Bathurst – Class of September 2014 and January 2015

Bella Bathurst – Class of September 2014 and January 2015

Bella is a fiction and non-fiction writer and journalist.  Her first book The Lighthouse Stevensons (1999) was named one of List Magazine‘s ‘100 Best Scottish Books of All Time’ and won the Somerset Maugham Prize.  Her articles have been published in Read More…

Toby Philips – Class of May 2014

Toby Philips – Class of May 2014

After gaining an Anthropology degree Toby spent some time working on his home.  He found that he loved working with his hands. He decided to pursue a career in woodworking, with an aim to starting his own business.  Toby completed Read More…

David Asquith – Class of January 2014

David Asquith – Class of January 2014

After working in IT for 34 years David decided it was time for a change.  He relocated to the Lyme Regis area and decided to do something practical. He joined the 12 week Woodworking Skills course because he wanted to Read More…

James Vooght – Class of September 2013

James Vooght – Class of September 2013

James worked in various European countries for action sports agencies before founding his own, providing digital media and graphic design to action sport teams.  James joined the Academy to develop his woodworking skills.  His carpenter stepfather had taught him some Read More…

Richard Adams – Class of September 2012

Richard Adams – Class of September 2012

Richard kindly sent us an update in 2017 to let us know what he’s been up to.  He commented, “To say it represented a turning point for me is no exaggeration. Three months before joining the course I was working Read More…