New careers for IBTC Portsmouth boatbuilding students


New careers for IBTC Portsmouth boatbuilding students

Last week saw an awards ceremony for our students who successfully completed their one year Diplomas in Traditional Wooden Boatbuilding in August. The seven students returned to Boathouse 4, in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for a special trip out on VIC 56 Steamship, a buffet lunch and the presenting of certificates and prizes. It was also a good chance to catch up with some of them about the jobs they have gone onto since finishing their studies. 

Recent student Sally is delighted to have already started employment with the Small Boats team at BAE Systems in Portsmouth. ‘I originally applied for a job as yard crew, but after they’d looked over my c.v. they actually asked me if I’d considered applying for the more senior role of Shipwright.’ The company was recently awarded 4 contracts totalling £112M to support and maintain over 600 small boats for the Ministry of Defence at sites across the UK. ‘Most of the small boats are made from FRP (Fibre Reinforced Plastic), but they still have plenty of wood elements on them. BAE were also impressed with my knowledge of how different systems, such as electrics and pipework, of a boat are integrated. This is all knowledge I picked up at IBTC Portsmouth.’

But studying boatbuilding doesn’t always lead to working on boats.

Carl, who also finished his training this August, knew that he planned to use his new skills differently, ‘Studying at IBTC Portsmouth was all about gaining woodworking experience and learning techniques,’ he says, ‘and I was drawn to the world of furniture making’. He’s now working for the high-end kitchen design and build company, Grech & Grech in East Wittering, West Sussex. ‘My interview with the company’s designer and director actually lasted for 2 hours, there was so much to talk about in the interview and I was able to fling out all the knowledge I’d learned during the course. The company is one that really values joiners with different backgrounds or additional skills, rather than just cabinet makers. My training at IBTC Portsmouth really made me stand out.’