Boat Builder Apprenticeship Programme Details

Year 1

By the end of year one of our boat builder apprenticeships programme you will have started building simple pieces on your own including unit fronts and hand holds for Oyster yachts. You will also have developed a good understanding of time scales and our meticulous attention to detail and quality standards.

Our boat builder apprenticeships are built on a really broad range of essential woodworking skills to enable you to achieve Oyster’s high standards, which you will learn one-to-one from our experienced experts. These skills will set you up for life as a boat builder. You will learn how to understand technical drawings, how to hand cut basic joints and how to set out and produce various pieces including a toolbox and coffee table. You will also get to grips with using power tools correctly and safely, understanding how laminates and fine veneers are made, and be introduced to basic wood working machinery. Once you have these essential foundations of our boat builder apprenticeships under your belt, you will be ready to learn about specialist boat building processes and techniques in your second year.

Year 2

There are two parts to Year 2 - for the first half of the year, you will follow the laminating module. You will spend time with Oyster’s leading specialists, Dave Wilmshurst and Gary Dell and their teams, to learn different fibre glass techniques using resin and matt, basic construction and use of moulds and plugs, basic gel repairs and finishing gel coated surfaces. The second half of the year is spent with the polishing team. You will learn how to prepare our high quality furniture for polishing, prepare and coat pre-painted fillets, varnish veneer faced plywood, seal coating, basic thinning techniques for varnish and paints and preparing and applying anti-foul. These fundamental skills will set you up for the advanced specialist skills you will learn in Years 3 and 4 of our boat builder apprenticeships.

Years 3 & 4

As you move into Year 3 of our boat builder apprenticeships, you will continue to learn more advanced specialist boat building skills. You will gain valuable insights into both traditional and modern boat construction that reflect the advanced approach Oyster takes to boat building. These skills will include cover marking out centre lines, templating and fitting a keel, installing a shaft, rudder, bow etc. You’ll be taught how to install a complete steering system, how to fit a passerelle, set out and lay a solid teak deck, cut out and fit additional bulk heads, trim windows and port lights, general engine room construction, and much more.

At the end of the course, you will also be given commissioning training. This is the vital final part of Oyster boat building apprenticeships, getting each yacht ready to hand over to its new owner. It includes assisting with the stepping of the mast and boom, fitting of the sails and taking part in the subsequent sea trials. You will also learn about alarm system management on the boat, and learn in detail about the operation of the different navigational systems of the boat, and the long list of commissioning checks we undertake to ensure every yacht meets Oyster’s high standards. At the end of the Oyster boat builder apprenticeships, you will be ready fully trained, qualified and equipped with the skills you need to have a successful career as a boat builder.


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