Looking for a new challenge

Retiring and ready for something new?

Have you reached a point in life where you have achieved everything you wanted in your career and would like to try something completely different? Your objective might be to learn skills that will let you restore, maintain or even build your own boat. Or perhaps you want to gain specialist knowledge and start up your own wood-related artisan business.

Joinery and Boatbuilding could be the way to achieve your goals; whether you are seeking a therapeutic, hands-on hobby or a new challenge and change of direction. 

Meet recent student, John

John was 59 when he decided to wind up his promotional marketing business and look for new opportunities.

'It wasn't really retirement although I did find myself with too much free time. I'd always loved sailing and boats and enjoyed DIY and making things from wood. My brother happened to visit Boathouse 4 and thought the IBTC Portsmouth Boatbuilding course was a shoe-in for me.'

What did you make of your training?

'The learning of practical skills was endlessly enjoyable as was the understanding of what it takes to build or repair a traditional boat, however, more that was learning to approach the work in a measured, accurate and thoughtful way. The facilities at IBTC were fantastic and the access to the historic collection including Mary Rose, Victory, Warrior etc. gave it a unique advantage. Learning a skill in a dockyard so steeped in naval history was for me really stimulating.'

Are you glad you did the course?

'My previous career had years of really exciting and challenging work and I've no regrets on that score. But even at 59 years old I felt that a complete change of direction would be a positive step, as it has turned out. I earn a wage doing something of real value and feel that I've 're-purposed' myself in doing so. I now get the train to work in steelies and scruffy work clothes rather than a suit and feel rather proud of it.'

John is currently working full-time as Apprentice Shipwright on The Golden Hinde in London.


If you are interested in finding out more about the Boatbuilding or Joinery courses, we recommend you explore the college on one of our regular Open Afternoons.