Meet the Maker – Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy

Meet the Maker – Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy


The Boat Building Academy is a small specialist vocational training college we work with people age from 18 to
I think our oldest student was 82 and it’s people who want to learn
boat building or woodworking skills we teach people in a range of skills from
traditional wooden boat construction types right through modern wood
and we also work in plastics it’s been on this site on Monmouth Beach
in Lyme Regis for 20 years it’s evolved through the years but it’s it’s sort of driving philosophy hasn’t
changed I came here and just thought
what an amazing place it was I mean the minute we walked through the door you smell the wood, you see the boats,
it’s busy, it’s really got something about it we have four full-time boat building
instructors who are employed by the school we work here mutually respecting each
other’s opinion giving students the option about how they’re going to do something because it develops in them a good way of thinking about how they’re actually doing things
and the way different ways they can do things they have
choices available when they go out into the marine industry we need them to be open to how things are done in the company that they are going to work at the students come from all over the world and they have backgrounds as diverse as bankers, IT people, policemen, engineers, mechanics, a whole range what they do have to have is huge enthusiasm
and be perfect to work extremely hard at the beginning of each course usually on day one or day two the students sit down with the training manager, the instructors and sometimes me and we talk about what boats they as a group
would like to build so they also their ideas on the table and we look at them and we have
to have a range of construction types so the students are getting hands-on experience
of each of the different construction types to watch people go from no skills to taking something out on the sea that they themselves have built in a relatively short space of time that’s the thing I find really rewarding the launch day is the really important day not just because it’s good fun and people get a great chance to
go out on the boats they’ve built but it also installs a timetable for people to work to and there’s a countdown because it’s very very important that people have this deadline when
they go out to employers time is money and they have to understand that and sometimes the craftsman job is not the job you need to do you need to do the job that gets the job
done on time we’re all shattered by the time it arrives the instructors have usually been working eighty hour weeks in the run up to it but to watch people walk the boats down
to the harbour that they themselves have made that they’ve worked so closely on
they’ve sort of stopped seeing them and it’s at the launch that they suddenly
look at the boat and say i did that one of my favorite moments of the launch
i watch from my office window I can see the road down to the harbour and I watch
them walk down that road and I can see a physical change in people from when I first interviewed they might have been people who sat behind a desk and they’ve just come to learn something practical to produce something and I watch them
walk down the road and they are physically different so not only have they learnt the skills they have somehow gained confidence in themselves it’s the best celebration for the end of the course that I can ever imagine having

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