Long & successful career behind you? Time for something new?
Have you reached a point in life where you feel you have achieved everything you wanted in your current career and you would like to try something completely different? Away from a desk, computers and paperwork?
Your objective might be learning hands on skills that will let you restore, maintain or even build your own boat, or gaining specialist knowledge to start up your own wood-related business.
Boatbuilding could be the vehicle that lets you achieve your goal, whether you’re seeking a quiet therapeutic, hands-on hobby or a new challenge and change of direction, as in Ian’s case.
Ian has 30 years of TV & Film production career behind him, producing programs and films for BBC and ITV which, amongst others, included the famous TV series EastEnders. Ian says that he has absolutely no plans to retire, ‘across my career I have always sought out the challenges.’
‘Across my career I have always sought out the challenges.’
He continues on talking about his fascinating background, ‘my career to date has been in TV production, starting with BBC in regional television in Northern Ireland, progressing to BBC Drama for some twenty years. I have been freelance for 17 years and in that time have worked with most of the UK broadcasters, and many of the Independent production companies on a range of drama production, both UK and internationally.’
Asked about what made him start a boatbuilding course and why he chose IBTC Portsmouth, Ian said, ‘I always promised myself that I would change careers when I reached fifty. The only problem being that the years crept up quickly and I had made no plans.
‘Boats have always been a passion’
‘I grew up by the sea on the County Antrim coast and had my first boat at 11 years of age – a very solidly built 8ft pram dingy complete with canvas sails and a galvanised steel daggerboard. Boats have always been a passion. From recollection the boatbuilding seed was sown when I read an article on another boatbuilding college in one of the ‘Classic Boat’ magazines whilst waiting for a delayed flight.’
‘The reason I chose IBTC Portsmouth was principally heritage’
‘We weighed up the options, considered the various colleges and the courses on offer. The reason I chose IBTC Portsmouth was principally heritage. Every boat currently in Boathouse 4 has pedigree and history. I was also swung by the obvious and infectious passion demonstrated by by Nat [former CEO] and Jim [Head of Operations] on an initial visit, and the encouragement from students and staff that I spoke with on subsequent visits.’
Looking from the perspective of being 3 months into the course, Ian said that the most rewarding aspect of boatbuilding is ‘learning and developing new skills, the environment, and of course the people namely my fellow students who come to IBTC Portsmouth from all walks of life, college leavers, to a commodity broker. We all started our three months in joinery with the same tools, the same pieces of wood, and the same well-conceived, often devious (!) exercises and projects.’
‘I did have a chisel at home, only ever used for opening cans of paint’
Moving from an establish career onto something completely new always come with its challenges, Ian admits that for him it was ‘having started with absolutely no woodworking skills or experience. I did have a chisel at home, only ever used for opening cans of paint…’
Future plans for Ian? ‘Personally I am as yet undecided. I may tie it in with transferable skills from my previous career. There is a long list of options – let’s see what develops.’
More details on the course that Ian is doing can be found in the course brochure here.
Ian’s advice for those at the similar stage in life wondering if boatbuilding is for them,
‘Do it. It takes planning and commitment. Do it…’
To those interested in the course we recommend visiting the College first. We like to introduce people to our facilities and provide them with detailed information on the course content, qualifications and financing before they commit to it. Bringing partners or friends along to share thoughts with is usually a good idea and something which helps with decision making later on.