Making the most of retirement


Making the most of retirement

Not everyone who comes to study in Boathouse 4 is looking for a new career. In every group there are some who come to the course for the sheer joy of learning something new and following a long-held ambition.

In 2018, after 29 years as a GP, Stuart decided to retire a couple of years early so that he could pick up his father’s tools and combine his love of boats with his interest in making things out of wood at IBTC Portsmouth.

For several years, whenever we visited Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, I would take the chance to look in at the IBTC and think, when I retire I’d like to do that boatbuilding course.”

Stuart had little practical woodworking experience before he arrived at the College, “The Joinery course was a steep learning curve, but that was true of my fellow students too, and learning together by doing was great fun. Sharing experiences with the wider group – and a drink or two on a Thursday evening at one of the nearby pubs – made one feel part of the “IBTC Family”. I learnt so much and gained skills I would not have dreamed of at the outset.”

For Stuart, doing the course was an end in itself but he was impressed by the onward progression of some of the other students, “It is inspiring to see how many IBTC graduates have gone on to work in the industry both in the UK and abroad; or to develop other woodworking careers. For me, the skills I have developed have led me into several projects including making furniture, boxes and display cases; and now to building a small traditional clinker sailing dinghy in which I hope to teach my grandchildren to sail”

He has no regrets about his decision to retire early, “The course was everything I hoped it would be, and more. In my GP career, I have seen too many people put off their dream, and then been unable to realise it. So, if you are thinking of doing the course, my advice is don’t delay … go for it if you possibly can.”