Southampton hears it for the marine industry of the future

More than 250 apprentices, shipwrights and students together with their managers, lecturers and guests attended the Annual Shipwrights Lecture in Southampton to hear speakers from diverse disciplines highlight the breadth and opportunities of the British leisure marine industry.

The speakers, many of whom were former apprentices themselves, engaged the audience with highly informative and amusing presentations which inspired a lively exchange of thought provoking questions from the young attendees.

The Turner Sims theatre at the University of Southampton welcomed apprentices from both the large marine employers including SYS, Pendennis, the RNLI, Berthon and Discovery Yachts as well as specialist marine supply companies such as Trimline and Halyard and graduates from all the main local Universities and colleges.

The lecture was opened with an interactive and extremely illuminating panel discussion chaired by Sue Grant, Managing Director of Berthon International, which spelt out, using real life examples, the importance of sound boat building procedures and the far reaching effects of poor workmanship on the wider marine sector.

This was followed by Tristan Jones, Joinery Manager and former apprentice at Pendennis Shipyard, who was able to give the audience an insight into his career progression from apprentice to member of the Senior Management Team at the prestigious superyacht shipyard. Since starting his apprenticeship course in 1998 Tristan has enjoyed a number of roles including Estimator, CAD Technician, Project Manager to his current position of Joinery Manager and member of the senior management team.

A change of tack followed, with an amusing and highly informative presentation from Andy Claughton, Director of Enterprise at Faculty of Engineering & Environment and Senior Research Engineer at the world-renowned Wolfson Unit. Andy reinforced the importance of getting the design and manufacturing right from the start of a project and engaged the audience with a raft of stories and video footage from his time as Design Research Coordinator with the New Zealand America’s Cup team.

Andy also impressed the audience with the world-class capabilities of the university in using their wind tunnel and various tank testing facilities to improve and predict the performance of not only yachts and motor cruisers but also our Olympic cycling team as well as super-tankers.
be the managers of tomorrow and the strength and success of the British marine industry in the future.
Gary Oliver, Director of Trimline Ltd commented, “The Shipwrights Lecture offers an excellent opportunity for our apprentices to learn valuable lessons from real life experiences as well as hear from extremely interesting and iconic people who have achieved successful and inspiring careers within the industry. The afternoon has been an extremely valuable use of the apprentice’s time and I’ve personally been encouraged to see new energy and the next generation embracing this exciting industry.”

Brian May, Managing Director of Berthon International noted, “After many years of effort we now have schools, colleges and the Government supporting the apprenticeship programme; whilst a good number of marine boatbuilders are now taking on increasing numbers of apprentices we need more of the wider marine supply chain companies to commit to the apprenticeship programme. The advantages and importance of training the next generation cannot be underestimated and I’m delighted that all our speakers at the Shipwrights Lecture were so positive about the need for apprentices.”