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The Boat Building Academy to offer bursaries

Published on: 05 March 2020

After 23 years of training highly skilled boatbuilders and furniture makers, British Marine member, the Boat Building Academy (BBA) has announced it is now a charitable company. The change will enable the BBA to offer bursaries to individuals for training in boatbuilding and furniture making.

Will Reed, BBA Principal and Trustee commented: “Becoming a charity is a big moment for us; the primary objective is to enable us to offer assisted places to extremely committed applicants who would not otherwise be able to attend our courses.”

“Initially, we are able to offer two boatbuilders and three furniture makers financial assistance each year. We would like to increase numbers in future and will be taking a proactive approach to fundraising.”

BBA bursaries will be offered to applicants who best meet criteria which include commitment, enthusiasm and a desire to forge a career in the boatbuilding and furniture making industries. For more information about bursaries, register interest via

“Although some students receive grants from the likes of City & Guilds, most rely on savings  and for some people, a course is an unattainable dream,” says Will. “We are thrilled to be able to turn those dreams into reality for several students each year with our new bursary programme. I came to the BBA through a lifetime love of woodwork and I’m delighted that we’ll be offering our training to a wider section of the community.”

To celebrate its newfound charitable status, the Boat Building Academy is hosting an open day on Saturday 25 April, from 10am to 4pm with all visitors welcome.

During the open day, visitors will be able to meet students and staff and explore the workshops with boats in build. There will be a display of graduate boats from previous years and an exhibition demonstrating the first-class skills of the furniture makers.

The academy has seen over 500 students through its doors in Lyme Regis, with graduates sought after across the UK and globally in all aspects of the boatbuilding and furniture making industries. Graduates have gone on to work in boatyards such as Tommy Nielsen, Spirit Yachts and Will Stirling; some have set up their own businesses.

The flagship 40-week Boatbuilding course teaches people how to build boats to industry standards using traditional and modern techniques while the 12-week Furniture Making and Advanced Furniture Making courses provide the skills needed to produce top-end work.

The BBA also offers a variety of two to five day short courses, from basic woodwork and furniture making to boatbuilding, GRP repairs, wooden boat restoration and sail making.