National Historic Ships UK (NHS-UK), in conjunction with the International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC), has announced it is now able to offer a new and unique Level 3 BTEC in the Conservation of Historic Vessels. Available from January 2014 at IBTC’s Lowestoft hub, the course has been designed to offer practical hands-on training in the specialist skills required to build and conserve traditional wooden boats. In order to give the course the best possible start in its first year, NHS-UK are offering two £1000 bursaries** to be awarded in conjunction with IBTC.
The course is open to those already learning traditional skills in the maritime sector, and could be used to enhance an apprenticeship in boatbuilding or marine engineering. It is also available to experienced shipwrights and boatbuilders, managers of conservation projects or private vessel owners and enthusiasts. The course consists of seven modules which can be taken concurrently, or spread over a period of time. It is the only course of its kind available in Britain and follows the development of NHS-UK’s three volume guidance publication ‘Understanding Historic Vessels’ – which has been designed to cover the key principles behind the history and conservation of historic vessels.
Commenting on the announcement, Martyn Heighton, Director of National Historic Ships UK, said: “The course has been designed to bridge the gap between boatbuilding, or marine engineering courses, and the specialist knowledge required to plan and implement any historic vessel conservation strategy. We are very pleased to be able to start offering it and excited to see the reception it receives.”
In 2010, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded £17million to 54 projects through its ‘Skills for the Future programme’; set up to fund work-based training in a wide range of skills. In partnership with the Canal & River Trust, NHS-UK was one of the successful applicants receiving an initial award of £110,000, with a further grant increase of £100,600 in 2013. With match-funding from the Headley Trust, they went forward to develop the BTEC Diploma in Historic Vessel Conservation as a legacy for their training scheme, Keeping History Afloat.
**Bursaries are according to applicants’ personal circumstances.