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Boatbuilding, Woodworking, Joinery and Furniture Training & Boat Maintenance and Construction Short Courses in Lowestoft, UK

ibtc lowestoft

Building boats since 1975, International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) has been originally set up to help Norfolk and Suffolk Broads yards get skilled graduates to manage their yards. I

BTC offers a variety of boatbuilding/maintenance and woodworking courses suitable for both those looking for a career in the industry as well as individuals wanting to develop existing interests and skills or develop new ones. The college trains students from all backgrounds and trains almost anyone who has the motivation to learn.


The advantage at IBTC is that the students will work on real projects. The highly transferable nature of the skills taught opens opportunities for future careers such as green frame timber construction, furniture making, and many others as the joinery skills for a host of other applications.

Situated in the coastal town of Lowestoft, IBTC sits on the northern shore of Lake Lothing, the tidal reach of the River Waveney, which chronicles the building of a wooden steam fishing boat. 

ibtc boat

IBTC Training Programs




Boatbuilding & Woodworking Courses

  • Diploma in Boatbuilding with City and Guilds 2473 Level 3 (47 weeks): This comprehensive course covers all the skills required to build and maintain boats. With an emphasis on learning through practical application of skills you will work on a wide range of boatbuilding projects, under the expert supervision of our knowledgeable instructors in our working boatyard. You will work on a wide range of craft including new builds, restoration and renovation projects. All our boats are real and have real owners ensuring the skills and knowledge you acquire are forged on real projects. We believe this is essential for students to become genuine boat builders.
  • Bench Joinery C&G Level 2 Diploma (12 weeks): This City & Guilds qualification is aimed at people wishing to learn some skills in carpentry and joinery, to progress on to becoming skilled in their chosen trade, or to progress through an apprenticeship and work towards becoming a master craftsman. This bench joinery course is can also be the first element of both the boatbuilding courses no previous experience of woodworking is necessary.
  • Woodworking & Joinery Skills (12 weeks): An intensive course focusing on a range of woodworking & joinery skills suitable for all including those with no previous experience. Forming the foundation element for our 47 week boatbuilding course it forms the backbone of the college from which our boat builders develop.
  • Introduction to Boatbuilding (12 weeks): This course starts with four weeks practical woodworking to learn the necessary skills required. You then progress through all the stages necessary to build your own boat from constructing the backbone, setting up station moulds, planking, fitting out and finishing. You will also learn the techniques and skills needed to set up and build larger boats of both clinker and carvel construction.

Short Courses

  • Basic Boat Plumbing and Electrics (2 days): This introductory course gives students a solid grounding in basic marine plumbing and electrics.
  • Boat Terminology (1 day): A day that takes the mystique out of boatbuilding. This theory based session covers boat building terminology and methods. The day provides plenty of opportunity to get amongst boats in various stages of construction and to meet our boat builders.
  • Caulking (2 days): The course covers oakum bails, an introduction to types of irons and tools used in the caulking process and the opportunity to put your knowledge into practice on a real vessel.
  • Glass Reinforced Plastics (GRP) (4.5 days): This hands on course provides a comprehensive understanding of the use and treatment of GRP.
  • Introduction to Woodworking (4.5 days): Introduction to Woodworking delivers training through practical projects, which can then be applied in both the workplace and at home.
  • Lettering & Decorative Woodcarving (2.5 days): A practical approach to v-cutting lettering and decorative motifs into wood. This course is led by award winning lettering sculptor Gary Breeze. This practical short course will suit any level of experience although some drawing skills would be very useful. A structured start is followed by guided independent practice.
  • Lofting Theory (2 days): This course takes designers’ drawings and develops them on the loft floor.
  • Painting and Varnishing (2 days): Learn how to prepare surfaces, apply to caulked vessels, brush application of single and two pack finishes in both paint and varnish to achieve a professional finish.
  • Router Course (3 days): The IBTC Router Course is an intensive, practical, 3 day course which covers the introduction to routers, cutter types, router use and health and safety.
  • Splicing and Ropework (2 days): Splicing and rope work provides broad introduction to ropework techniques, including splicing and knotting.
  • Timber Technology (1 day): A theory based course covering timber, both naturally grown and manufactured wood products, and their application within the marine industry. The course covers wood defects, hardwoods, softwoods, conversion, seasoning and wood decay.
  • Traditional Rigging and Wirework (3days): Providing a sound introduction to traditional rigging and wirework techniques.