Boatyard to create apprenticeship scheme

Published: Monday, 31 July 2017

The historic Tooley's Boatyard at Banbury on the Oxford Canal is hoping to create an apprenticeship scheme to train budding boat engineers.

Proprietor Matt Armitage at the boatyard celebrated the the 1,500th boat service in his 15 years by announcing the proposed scheme to help young people take up boat engineering, Alan Tilbury reports.

tooleys banburyRecognised training scheme

A new recognised training scheme in boat repair and dock management training could allowing Matt to do this, and will be the first in the country if approved.

He realises the frustration of youngsters wanting to enter the industry that non-boat specific courses do little to prepare them for the special skills required in boat building, learning about petrol engines and vehicles is little foundation.

Learn all aspects

So in the future Tooley’s is expecting to employ an apprentice to learn all aspects of working in a boatyard, including management, painting, basic boat repair and mechanics but wants the student to leave with an industry standard modern apprenticeship qualification, as there is not one at the moment, with Matt telling the Banbury Guardian:

“What it would be is being involved in setting the standard. So it would have to involve a college and it would involve other people in the industry. We would come up with the standard and then it has to be put forward to the education authorities to be agreed. It would then become a proper qualification.

” If approved the qualification would revolutionise the narrowboat industry that still operates in the tried and tested methodology of learning on the job and gaining experience. If you wanted to work in a boatyard there’s no qualification you can go off and do. If you want to work with narrow boats you have to get a job and hope they teach you a bit. That’s how it works.”