Developing hands-on skills through boat-building

Living in the age of technology, the need for hands-on skills may sometimes be forgotten. Not in north-east Scotland, where a boat-builder, a Scottish high school and Chevron Upstream Europe have teamed up to help teens develop confidence and life skills for future employment.

The Portsoy Youth Boat Build Project is a practical two-year outreach program giving 14 to 16 year-olds from local high school Banff Academy an opportunity to learn traditional boat building skills. It aims to improve life skills, numeracy and literacy.

The project which started in October 2016 is being run from The Boatshed, a permanent facility for the construction of wooden vessels by the Old Harbor at Portsoy, in north-east Scotland. The picturesque fishing village is located on the Moray Firth about 50 miles north of the offices of project sponsor Chevron Upstream Europe (CUE), based in Aberdeen.

In recent years, the village has become famous for hosting the annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.

One long-term aim of the program is to deliver a nationally recognized vocational training course with the potential for participants to go on to apply for a boatbuilding apprenticeship and gain employment at The Boatshed or elsewhere.

At the launch of the program, last year, local Member of Parliament Eilidh Whiteford said: “The project is a fantastic resource, which will give youngsters in the Banff area the kind of hands-on training and life skills that employers really value. It builds on the good work done at The Boatshed, and credit is due to the staff and volunteers at Portsoy Community Enterprise, and staff at Chevron and Banff Academy for bringing it to fruition.”

Once the pilot project has been implemented, a long-term objective will be creating a template to support the expansion of the program to other high schools and academies across north-east Scotland.

For more information on Chevron Upstream Europe’s social investment programme click here.

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