BRITISH POWERBOAT TRAINING
THE British Powerboat Training Centre at Marchwood Park
The course of training lasting two months consists of instruction in one of the following trades:
Woodwork including drilling, riveting, screwing, planing, sanding, etc. The students familiarize themselves with all the necessary tools and after the training should be able to make a dovetailed box or simple furniture.
Similar labour in our own Factory are carrying out all frame construction of boats, including decking, engine beds, bulkheads, laminated cabin floors and hatches, interior fittings such as cupboards, storage's, seats, ladders, fitting of deck lights, ventilators and all interior cupboards, etc.
Sheet Metal Work comprising the making of such items as drip trays, single brackets, fixing plates, battery boxes, etc. Also including marking off and drilling various classes of metal, countersinking, tapping and small lathe work. The students are taught to read and make from drawings, the work done is comprehensive, ie. each sample of work includes brazing, soldering or welding, marking off, cutting, filing, bonding, etc.
Similar labour in the Factory are carrying out work on coolers, header tanks, junction boxes, metal wireless panels, including engraving, also pipe bending up to 1", brazing, welding etc.
Electrical work. Assembly of electrical components such as lamps, switches and the manufacture of specified lengths of cable complete with spade terminals and the fitting up of cables to the junction boxes, fuse boxes, etc.
Labour in the Factory are responsible for assembly work and junction box assembly and wiring.
Half Term Examination
Students are watched carefully in the early stages and if obviously unsuitable are interviewed and advised to find something more suitable. At the end of one month they are put through a theoretical and practical examination to ascertain their progress.
At the completion of the course practical and written examinations are set and a standard of workmanship is established, upon which is based the student's efficiency. From the enclosed copies of examination papers it will be seen that they are expected to achieve a fairly high standard of proficiency as it will be noted that they learn to read blue prints and to locate any discrepancies that may be found in drawings, schedules or specifications. Diplomas, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade are given.
Accommodation at the Training Centre
The Training Centre has accommodation for 45 applicants, they are encouraged to sleep in because we then have better control over them and lectures can also be arranged in the evenings.
The Principal of Marchwood is responsible for the welfare, health and discipline and ensure that they are well fed and kept in a happy frame of mind. Rules and regulations of the Hostel are shown in the enclosed booklet.
The Training Centre, a large country mansion in its own grounds, is situated at Marchwood some three miles from the Factory on the main road between Southampton and Hythe.
Rates of Pay
During their training students, in addition to free board and lodging, receive 15/- per week pocket money and upon arrival at the Factory they are paid according to the rules laid down by the Confederation of Shipbuilders. At the same time, in order to provide an incentive, the Company has a scheme of ability bonus in operation.
As they are absorbed into the Factory they work under the supervision of carefully selected chargehands. The greater proportion of the building of the smaller boats, including assembly or interior work, electrical components, as well as engine installation (on the smaller types only) is carried out by student operatives. They are encouraged and given every opportunity of promotion to the more highly skilled jobs, and indeed it is obvious from our experience that they are quite competent to undertake any work within the limit of their physical strength, and in the vast majority of cases they have exhibited a very high standard of intelligence and efficiency.
Advanced Course of Training in Engineering Work
This course is open to this student intake who have already taken the Metalwork course and who have had at least one year's production experience in the Factory. This work consists for instance of converting an Aero engine to Marine use, which necessitates the fitting of a Reverse Gear which must first be completely dismantled, inspected, cleaned, the burrs removed and very carefully re-assembled according to our own requirements. This operation involves considerable skill in drilling, tapping, split-pinning and wiring the various bolts, nuts and locking devices. The Reverse Gear is then fitted to the engine as well as drip boxes, petrol pipe lines, starter motor, dynamo and petrol pump. The engine and Reverse Gear is very carefully and accurately lined up on a pair of engine rails which require to be drilled and studded to accommodate them – this operation requires the use of a clock gauge in order to ensure accuracy. When they have completed this entire operation the unit is then ready to be fitted into the boat.
All of the students mentioned above were, TEENAGE GIRLS (At least half of all boat builders and boat repairers of WW2 military craft were women and girls)