Mobility for Marine Careers: international experience for the future workforce

Students relaxing on Erasmus Plus project in front of St Denys Tug

From left to right: Matthew Moseley, Matthew Smitheram, Ben Pilling, Samuel Holland, Jack Smith and Ben Collins in front of the St Denys Tug at Douarnenez.

A mobility project, that was made possible through EU funding from Erasmus Plus, started in April and saw the successful completion of a two-week work placement in France by six students from Falmouth Marine School and Helston Community College. The students, trained at Level 1, 2 and 3 in marine engineering or boat building, crossed the Channel to gain hands-on experience in Finistere, 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.

Local partner Finistere 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.

“The students are extremely motivated, have a good technical level and are willing to work”.

Arnaud Tudal, Workshop Manager at Maree Haute, found the experience really positive and is ready to welcome new participants: “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 Finistere 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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