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The University of Southampton
Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute

Shipwrights' Lecture inspires a record number of attendees

Published: 3 November 2015
Annual Shipwrights Lecture 2016
Annual Shipwrights Lecture 2016

A record number of apprentices attended the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights’ 2015 Annual Lectures on Wednesday 28 October at the University of Southampton. More than 320 apprentices, shipwrights, students and industry leaders from the marine sector enjoyed inspiring addresses.

Representatives attended from a range of high profile marine employers, including Berthon Boat Company, Pendennis, RNLI, PrinceYachts, Sunseeker, as well as students from both universities and local colleges. The event brought together a diverse range of prestigious speakers from within Britain’s marine industry. Experts explored the opportunities available to the sector’s young people today, predicting what the future holds for the industry and offering key career advice.

Opening proceedings, Michael Derrick commented, “There is no better evidence of the importance of these lectures, than a full house here today.” He was joined by James Grazebrook OBE who officiated the Lectures, and Prime Warden Mr Deputy Doug Barrow who welcomed attendees.

The Prime Warden Doug Barrow said, “It is great to see so many young apprentices and their companies sat in the audience, as well as fellow shipwrights. It is a delight to work with the University of Southampton and British Marine for these important Lectures. At the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights, it is our job to educate, support and encourage the shipwrights of the UK, ensuring skills are passed on to the next generation.

The first presentation “An unusual Journey”, was from two passionate Berthon Boat Company apprentices – Jack Gunstone-Smith and Nathan Smith who gave an inspiring talk about the many merits of shipwright apprenticeships and spoke about their aspirations for their future within the marine industry.

An interactive panel discussion followed, entitled ‘Power Play – Marine propulsion at work” – chaired by Matt Sheahan, Technical Editor at Yachting World. The panel was made up of industry experts, including Adrian Miles of Bruntons Propellers, Gerard Törneman of Volvo Penta, Keith Tyler of Rolls Royce and David Barrow from Windship. They discussed a number of subjects from advances in

propulsion technology and hybrid systems, to how companies can increase efficiency and reduce emissions. The discussion stimulated a lively exchange of thought-provoking questions from the young attendees.

Third to take to the stage was Henk Weikens, Joint MD of Pendennis Shipyard, with a talk entitled ‘How lucky can you be?’ Pendennis, the Falmouth-based superyacht builder and superyacht refit, restoration, and rebuild shipyard, has employed over 160 apprentices in its history. Henk talked about his amazing career journey, from building small fishing boats in Holland to emigrating to New Zealand and finally taking over Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth.The closing address was made by the Chairman of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Charles Hunter-Pease OBE. He gave a summary of the afternoon, before giving the final words of advice to some of the industry’s most promising young professionals. He said, “It never ceases to amaze me that shipwrights can take a mound of materials and turn it into a brand new boat. Many apprentices work at the RNLI and we could not save lives without them. In some respects, we should all never stop being apprentices and continue to learn and work hard. If you love what you do, it will always show in your work.”

Notes for editors

Notes to editors:

For further press information, please contact Amy Hutson ( or Beki Knowles ( or 01460 241641.

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