Remembering the novelty of face-to-face training

Do you recall those days when we used to get together in a room to do some face-to-face training and networking? It seems an age ago already with Zoom and Teams taking over as the was to train. So, imagine my angst when the planned 7 day practical course at the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis, which had been under development for more than a year, was placed in jeopardy by the pandemic. It was unclear if we could run the event safely until just a couple of weeks prior. But I am delighted to say we managed to get the course away with a reduced number of 6 students.

I spent a day with the students – social distancing and other sensible pandemic measures were in place naturally. As I write, the course has just one more day to run, including the multiple choice testing for students to undergo. Over the week, students have had the chance to get their hands dirty learning skills in the workshops about vessel structure as well as undertaking some practical activities with GRP.

Last Wednesday, mid-way through the course, David Pestridge, Jon Sharland (Tritex Ltd) and myself headed to the Academy for the day. David explained to students how to prepare for and conduct a survey. After Jon has given a presentation on ultrasound thickness measurement, we headed to the harbour in foul weather and mountainous seas at low tide to test the equipment and hammer tap some hulls.

I was joined online in the after lunch slot by Paul Homer, Chairman of Standards, and we delivered a shortened version of the quarterly report writing seminar.

Will Reed, Academy Principal, said, “It has been a pleasure to work with IIMS on this project and being able to use and showcase the facilities at the Academy and our talented tutors for the benefit of the students is rewarding. We look forward to welcoming IIMS students to the next course in 2021.”

I have two thoughts to share with you. Firstly, it really was a pleasure to spend time with human beings in this environment once again face-to-face. And secondly, those who took the leap of faith to participate in the course will surely become better surveyors for having got their hands dirty, in my opinion. I salute you.

If you celebrate Christmas, I wish you a peaceful and happy digital one. Best wishes for the New Year and, let’s face it, it can only be better than 2020, which should be confined to the bin.

Survey well and stay safe.

Mike Schwarz
Chief Executive Officer

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