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International experience for future marine workforce

Published: May 2, 2017

Falmouth Marine School Falmouth

Marine engineering and boatbuilding students from Cornwall have benefitted from a trip to one of Europe’s most prestigious boatbuilding destinations.

A mobility project, that was made possible through EU funding from Erasmus Plus, saw six students from Falmouth Marine School and Helston Community College complete a two-week work placement in France this April.

The students, trained at Level 1, 2 and 3 in marine engineering or boat building, crossed the Channel to gain hands-on experience in Finistère, a world-class region for the marine leisure industry.

The students were placed in pairs within relevant businesses and were professionally tutored and introduced to the day-to-day industry activities in various workshops, from resin infusion to laying up and gel coating moulds to contributing to boat maintenance and fit out.

Jack Smith, studying Marine Engineering at Falmouth Marine School said:  “the programme of activities was spot on.  It was a wothwhile experience and I hope it will enhance my C.V.”

Local partner Finistère 360°, a public body responsible for the implementation of marine leisure and tourism strategies, brokered the work placements at IDB Marine, Maree Haute and Espace Vag, three boatyards which respectively won the prize of “sailing boat of the year” over the last four years.

The project, managed by the Cornwall Apprenticeship Agency, aimed to develop the students’ capacity to adapt to different working environments in a marine sector where products, their associated maintenance processes and clients are increasingly becoming multinational.

Arnaud Tudal, Workshop Manager at Marée Haute, found the experience really positive and is ready to welcome new participants, adding that “the students are extremely motivated, have a good technical level and are willing to work”.

A complementary series of marine-related activities completed the programme, including kayak and stand-up paddle board sessions, and a visit to the KAIROS business incubator which supports the use of bio-composites in the boat building industry. In the town of Douarnenez twinned with Falmouth, the group also visited the floating museum and “Les Ateliers de l’Enfer”, an adult training centre in traditional marine carpentry, sail-making and saddler and joined tours onboard the Grayhound (the sailing cargo ship operating between Finistère and the South West UK) and the St Denys (the Cornish steam tug boat now based in Douarnenez). This highlighted the shared cultural and maritime heritage between Cornwall and Brittany.

A second group of students is being recruited to participate in a second mobility this coming June.

The project is funded under Key Action 1 of the Erasmus Plus programme of the European Union.

For more information about funding opportunities visit www.erasmusplus.org.uk, or use the hashtag #epluspeople to see what other projects are doing across the UK.

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