The International Boatbuilding Training College Portsmouth (IBTC Portsmouth) is attending the Southampton Boat Show from 9 – 19 September, to showcase to visitors the wealth of courses available at the renowned college, located in the heart of Portsmouth’s historic dockyard.
The college, which was founded in 2015, launches this Autumn 11 new short courses for both beginner and intermediate students wanting to experience traditional woodwork skills, as well as tool handling, maintenance and restoration. Short courses running throughout autumn and winter range from one-day to five days, and are priced from £105 to £480; all tools and materials are provided.
On stand C068 & C066 on 11 and 12 September, Matt, one of IBTC Portsmouth’s boatbuilding instructors, will be on hand to regale visitors with his stories of boat building. Matt is a fifth generation boatbuilder – coming from a long line of boatbuilders and shipwrights. One of his ancestors was even involved in the construction of HMS Victory built in the 1760’s.
Matt started working at Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, the parent organisation of IBTC Portsmouth, as lead shipwright in the restoration of Armed Steam Cutter 26, a veteran of the First World War. He’s now proud to be part of the teaching team at IBTC Portsmouth: “I have always been a mentor to apprentices in all of the places that I have worked – I love sharing my knowledge and seeing people’s confidence and skills develop. I feel that I have come full circle and am giving something back to the very complex, tough and rewarding trade that has had such an important place in my heart throughout my working life.”
In addition, to the short courses on offer, the college continues to run its One Year IBTC Portsmouth Diploma in Wooden Boatbuilding, which includes a Level 3 City and Guilds Qualification in Marine Construction, a specialist 12-week joinery course. The college takes on two student cohorts a year, in March and September, accommodating up to 12 students in each.
On stand C068 & C066 on 18 and 19 September, Stuart, a Graduate of IBTC Portsmouth will be sharing his experience of retiring early after 29 years as a GP, so that he could pick up his father’s tools and combine his love of boats with his interest in learning how to make things out of wood.
Talking of his time at the college; “the Joinery course was a steep learning curve, but that was true for my fellow students too. I learned so much and gained skills I would not have dreamed of at the outset. They have led me into several projects; I’m now building a small traditional clinker sailing dinghy in which I hope to teach my grandchildren to sail.”
Stuart 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.”
IBTC Portsmouth are passionate about keeping heritage skills alive, they deliver training in traditional techniques, using real projects in a custom-designed facility on the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust estate, at the heart of the historic dockyard.
Abi Isherwood, Head of IBTC Portsmouth, said: “We are so pleased to be launching our series of short courses this autumn. No experience is required to train at the college, just the desire to make beautiful things from wood and a readiness to learn.”
The skills our graduates take out into the world have so many applications. The majority of our graduates have launched careers in traditional boatbuilding, but many others have found their vocation in associated crafts such as furniture construction and restoration and bespoke cabinet making” Abi adds.
The College’s home, Boathouse 4, was built in 1939; it was used for the development and manufacture of small Naval craft during the Second World War. The building was renovated by Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust in 2015 in a £6 million scheme to transform an underused building into a state-of-the-art boatbuilding training facility.
The Boathouse, and the pontoon behind it, are also the home to the Trust’s collection of 19th and 20th Century armed forces vessels, many of which are kept in operational condition and are available to charter.