After leaving school in Launceston, Cornwall, Luke spent time travelling in Australia and New Zealand. When he returned to England he worked in a variety of jobs; as an architectural technician, in property renovation and as a production operator. But Luke felt that none of these jobs would lead anywhere. He wanted a career. Luke chose the long course because he wanted to build boats as well as gain skills in woodworking. He was offered a job by Spirit Yachts and went there straight after the end of the course. Luke worked at Spirit for two years and then moved in to furniture making at Bridger and Buss, near Exeter, but he missed working on boats.
After a six month contract working at Stirling & Son, Luke applied for a job advertised on the private Boat Building Academy Graduates’ network. He was offered the post. It took six months to get all the paperwork and work permits needed, but since July 2016 Luke has worked for E & S Yacht Maintenance in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The busy yard and small team of three provide woodwork, GRP, plumbing, electrics – the whole works – to private and charter boats, including 80ft catamarans. It’s seasonal work with big projects like new decks in the summer and small maintenance works like repairs and sprucing up the general wear and tear on the charter boats in the winter peak tourist season.
Luke says it was a steep learning curve going in to the marine industry. “The first year was very hard but one of the most important elements, the hand skills that I learned at the Academy, put me in good stead. The rest was down to patience and gaining experience.” Luke says that his year at the Boat Building Academy was the best year of his life and that “it was the best thing I’ve ever done”. During our Skype conversation, seeing where he’s now living, that’s quite a compliment.