The Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis has unveiled new courses and bursaries for students and local people

Dorset’s Boat Building Academy has launched new courses in boat building and furniture making and additional bursaries for students and local people this summer.

Amongst the new courses available are:

  • A six-week Build a Boat course
  • A two-week build a wooden stand-up paddleboard (SUP) course, with two students studying for the price of one.

The academy became a charity in 2020 and since then, has introduced new courses to reflect the needs of the boat building industry.

The director, Will Reed, said: “In addition to our twice yearly, 40-week full time boat building course, we are now offering students a more compact, six-week Build a Boat Course which gives a taste of a broad range of skills, while building a Joel White Shellback Dinghy.”

“Our 12-week furniture making course has produced a stream of capable woodworkers who have worked in all aspects of the industry, and we are now running an improved course introducing some new techniques to give students a flavour of boat building,” he added.

Women standing around an upturned hull of a boat being built

A bursary is available to help women learn boat building skills

Most students at the Boat Building Academy attend for professional training, although there are others who enrol for the “the sheer joy of building wooden boats surrounded by like-minded enthusiasts and our expert tutors.”

Reed said the underlying aim of the Boat Building Academy is to preserve and promote ancient and modern boat building skills for everyone.

The academy’s bursary scheme is open to UK residents, and it has a specific Bursary for Women, which aims to dispel the stigma around women in practical skills industries.

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The newest bursaries, which have been funded by the Alice Ellen Cooper Dean Charitable Foundation and the Valentine Trust are aimed at people from Dorset and offer the chance to apply for up to 50% off the academy’s 12 and 40-week courses as well as taster days and short courses.

Based on Monmouth Beach, the Boat Building Academy was founded in 1997 by Naval Commander Tim Gedge.

Since then, more than 280 boats have been handcrafted at the academy using traditional and modern techniques, and many graduates have gone on to work at the country’s top boatyards.

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