Ferretti Group Adds Trade Schools
The Italian luxury yacht builder, who owns upscale brands such as Riva, Ferretti, Italma, CRN, Wally, and Pershing, announced the opening of marine trade schools for 18- to 29-year-olds who tend to be graduates from technical and professional institutes and are interested in joining the Italian yacht industry’s high end.
So far, the company has run two courses at its facilities in Forli, near its new production site to be opened soon in Ravenna. The aim of the three-month course, totaling 500 hours of training, is to teach specific skills deck fitters and carpenters need for production at the Ravenna facility. Lessons will be taught by technical experts, including former yard managers and line foremen, and alternate between classrooms, workshops, and production departments.
In the future, more school sites will be added, in Sarnico, the home of the famous Riva runabouts, some 50 miles northeast of Milan; and in Mondolfo, near Ancona on the Adriatic coast. Ferretti says it started these schools amid “robust growth” and expanding production sites that need to be staffed with specialized technicians to meet still-rising demand. Italy claims to be the world leader in superyacht production, with nearly 170 superyachts longer than 30m (98‘) launched in 2022, up from about 160 in 2021.
In Sarnico’s two training centers (Don Bosco and CFP Zanardelli), apprentices get hands-on experience in mechanical and systems engineering, fitting out, carpentry, painting, and composites. The Mondolfo site, a business school specializing in training and placement, will support the apprentices specializing in marine engineering and hydraulic systems. Ferretti says more than 50 apprentices (10% are women) will be trained for prospective employment in the company’s various construction yards to keep up with bulging order books.
For 2022, Ferretti Group reported a profit of €60.5 million, up from €37.4 million, while revenues increased to €1 billion, up 14.6% from 2022. In the first half of 2023, Ferretti tallied revenues of €580.8 million (up 8.6% compared to the first half of 2022), and a margin of 14.7% (up 1.2%). The order backlog rose to €1.41 billion as of June 30, 2023, up about 15.8% over the previous year.
Online Tools for Systems Training
Boatbuilding schools in the U.S. operate on decidedly more modest budgets yet turn out scores of budding boatbuilders and technicians every year. To that end, the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding (NWSWB) in Port Hadlock, Washington, and the online course platform BoatHowTo.com recently launched a strategic partnership for technical education. It gives all students in the school’s Marine Systems program free access to the marine electrical online courses and resources at BoatHowTo (BHT), which counts around 1,500 subscribers and was co-founded by Nigel Calder, a Professional BoatBuilder magazine contributing editor.
This deal is nonexclusive, Calder said, but noted that NWSWB is “the first educational institute to adopt the BHT courses.” The school will teach basic and advanced electrical courses, representing a retail value of $400 when bundled. Standards compliance is primarily ABYC but includes ISO DC and AC, primarily ISO 13297—“Small craft—Electrical systems—Alternating and direct current installations.”
NWSWB lead marine systems instructor Kevin Ritz chose the courses, developed by Calder and Jan Athenstadt in Germany, to augment the school’s hands-on Marine Systems curriculum. These courses, Ritz said, offer students more learning options that suit students’ unique learning styles, prior knowledge, and experience. “Nigel’s decades of experience, formerly available through books and seminars, now is available on demand,” Ritz stated. “More of our younger students shy away from books and prefer videos on the Internet. In fact, several have already reported they find the resource ‘awesome.’”
While Ritz’s systems program deals with systems on boats of all hull types, he says the instruction stays true to the school’s values and mission. “Working on marine systems requires the same integrity and craftsmanship that’s demanded by all the marine trades. Each decision can affect the integrity of the entire vessel.” The Marine Systems program currently hosts its eighth cohort of students, who learn the theory behind most of the systems found on today’s boats, as well as hands-on installation, repair, and troubleshooting. Augmenting this educational content, the BoatHowTo courses focus on safety and keeping up to date with advances in technology.
ABYC Foundation Seeks Nominations for Educator of the Year
The ABYC Foundation is calling for nominations for its 2023 Educator of the Year Award, recognizing an outstanding instructor in marine service technology. Eligible candidates are those teaching in high schools, postsecondary institutions, or corporate settings.
“By nominating a deserving educator, you’re not only recognizing their hard work but also helping to spotlight the crucial role of education in our industry,” said ABYC Foundation’s accreditation director, Sarah Devlin. “With a growing need for skilled technicians, these educators are shaping the future of the marine industry and our ability to improve the boating experience.” Nominations for the 2023 award are open until Feb. 15, 2024. To nominate, visit https://www.teachboats.org/educator-of-year.
The announcement of the winner will take place at the ABYC Foundation’s Educator Training Conference, scheduled for April 2–4, 2024, in Annapolis, Maryland. The event serves as an educational platform for instructors and a networking opportunity for leaders in the boating industry. Learn more about the Educator Training Conference, industry sponsorship opportunities, and connecting with marine industry educators.