Southampton boat building apprentice wins national award

23 Nov 2017

Danielle Thomas at Land Rover BAR

Seawork International supporter City College Southampton recently announced that Danielle Thomas, a boat building apprentice at the College, had won the prestigious Apprentice of the Year 2017 at the Association of Colleges (AoC) student annual awards.

Announced at the AoC awards dinner on 14 November at Birmingham’s International Convention Centre, the Student of the Year awards recognise and celebrate talented and high achieving students from across the UK.

Danielle, 20, a keen sailor and currently in her final year of an advanced apprenticeship in boat building with Oyster Yachts, was praised for being a role model for young women in the marine industry. Danielle joined City College with aspirations of learning to build high-performance yachts.

Being the only female in her class and in the workplace has not deterred her from striving to be the best and in her own words never ‘outgunned’. Danielle played an important role in high-profile projects outside of her apprenticeship which included building two docking RIBs for Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) and restoring a medieval cargo ship in the City of Southampton.

Speaking about her success, Danielle said: “It’s unbelievable to have won – I really wasn’t expecting it.  It’s lovely to have my work recognised at a national level but it wouldn’t have been possible without the continued support from City College.  They have really pushed and encouraged me.”

City College’s Marine Skills Centre Manager, Darren Patten, commented: “We are really proud of Danielle’s achievements. Throughout her studies, she has made a huge contribution to the college and various other organisations including the communities of Southampton and Portsmouth. When working with BAR, she demonstrated her confidence and technical skills by supervising the vitally important task of testing the RIB’s vacuum bag for leaks and taking on a project management role.

“Danielle is a worthy winner and is an inspiration to other young women considering a career in the marine industry.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges, said: “The Student of the Year awards showcase the very best of college students across the country. They celebrate exceptional students who stand out from the crowd.  Danielle’s passion to succeed in the marine industry stood out in the application. She’s an excellent role model for others and we hope many more apprentices follow in her footsteps.”

City College Southampton is a general further education college in Hampshire which provides career focused courses, apprenticeships, professional training and academic education for young people, adults and businesses, with a Specialist Marine Skills Centre based in Woolston.