Apprentice Ben Hodder excelling at Honnor Marine, in Dorset.

Ben Hodder, an outstanding Boatbuilder in the making, employed at Honnor Marine in Swanage, Dorset, has sent us his end of sponsored  year report. Ben, who started at Honnor Marine back in 2021, has made great strides since formally commencing his apprenticeship a year ago. He is enrolled with Bournemouth & Poole College who are delivering the off the job training.

Ben told us: “At Honnor Marine, there have been many projects on the go, with the season drawing ever nearer. Tim Altham (the MD and owner) has been fantastic and patient with me, teaching me skills and ever increasing my responsibility. I have worked on polishing boats, repairing damaged woodwork, repainting boat hulls and recently adding a waterline and antifouling a boat. Twinned with work at Honnor Marine, I now have a day at Rondar Racing in Westbury, working with their laminators and getting to help build our new boats. This is an incredible opportunity as I have not seen the process of building our particular boats from scratch so I can now understand better why certain components are placed in a certain way or the boats design is the way it is. The Laminating process at Rondar is a steep learning curve coming from little experience and it has taken a lot of effort to get my standards and speed up but I am thoroughly enjoying the challenge.”

Regarding the off the job training at the college, Ben enthused: “...within woodwork alone I have learned about scarf joints, maintaining equipment, laminating wood, planing wood, mortise and tenon joints and more. In composite studies I have began laminating more and more complex items as the year progresses, from a flat A4 sheet, to more intricate designs”.

And looking to the future Ben was full of optimism: “I hope to grow from strength to strength. I am aiming to stay with Honnor Marine and help build the company back up and would like to manage to the floor within the company someday. Tim and I do sit down and swap knowledge, he is keen to understand what I am learning from college and at Rondar, in he will impart his knowledge then back onto me about our range, specs and continue off the job training”.

Very well done Ben for completing a fabulous first year on the apprenticeship. Ben is a credit to his company and the whole marine industry. With apprentices such as Ben, the future of the UK Boatbuilding sector is very bright indeed!