After 23 years of training highly-skilled boat builders and furniture makers, the Boat Building Academy (BBA) is proud to announce it is now a charitable company. The change will enable the BBA to offer bursaries to individuals for training in boat building and furniture making.

“Becoming a charity is a big moment for us; the primary objective is to enable us to offer assisted places to extremely committed applicants who would not otherwise be able to attend our courses,” says Will Reed, BBA Principal and Trustee.

“Initially, we are able to offer two boat builders and three furniture makers financial assistance each year. We would like to increase numbers in future and will be taking a proactive approach to fundraising.”

BBA bursaries will be offered to applicants who best meet criteria which include commitment, enthusiasm and a desire to forge a career in the boat building and furniture making industries. For more information about bursaries, register interest via

“Although some students receive grants from the likes of City & Guilds, most rely on savings, and for some people a course is an unattainable dream,” says Will. “We are thrilled to be able to turn those dreams into reality for several students each year with our new bursary programme. I came to the BBA through a lifetime love of woodwork and I’m delighted that we’ll be offering our training to a wider section of the community.”

The Boat Building Academy open day

To celebrate its newfound charitable status the Boat Building Academy is hosting an open day on Saturday 25th April, 10-4, with all visitors welcome.

During the open day visitors will be able to meet students and staff and explore the workshops with boats in build. There will be a display of graduate boats from previous years and an exhibition demonstrating the first-class skills of the furniture makers.

The academy has seen over 500 students through its doors in Lyme Regis, with graduates sought after across the UK and globally in all aspects of the boat building and furniture making industries. Graduates have gone on to work in boatyards such as Tommy Nielsen, Spirit Yachts and Will Stirling; some have set up their own businesses.

The flagship 40-week Boat Building course teaches people how to build boats to industry standards using traditional and modern techniques while the 12-week Furniture Making and Advanced Furniture Making courses provide the skills needed to produce top-end work.

The BBA also offers a variety of 2 to 5-day short courses, from basic woodwork and furniture making, to boat building, GRP repairs, wooden boat restoration and sail making.

Find out more online at