Woman is 1st modern apprentice for boat building
A young woman who gave up a career hairdressing has become Scotland's first modern apprentice - in the centuries old craft of boat building.
Edel McCarthy, 22, from Paisley, Renfrewshire was training to be a hairdresser but left it behind to pursue a career in the typically male-dominated industry of boat building.
Edel admitted the move from a salon to a wood workshop building boats was a big change but said she enjoys the practical work.
Last year she joined the Scottish Boat Building School as a part-time assistant and this year she became the first person to undertake a modern apprenticeship in boat building.
On July 1 she began the three-year course in boat building and repair run by the Scottish Maritime Museum's Scottish Boat Building School in Irvine, North Ayrshire.
As part of her course, Edel will help restore and maintain historic vessels in the Scottish Maritime Museum's national heritage collection.
Edel said: "It's been quite a leap.
"With only a little woodwork experience from school, I was totally out of my comfort zone.
"But I like hands on kinds of things and being manual.
"I'm so glad I made the jump." After quitting her hairdressing course, Edel began job hunting and after weeks of unsuccessful searching, she saw the boat building job ad which caught her eye.
Edel said: "After I came out of college I was looking for jobs.
"I was searching and searching and couldn't find anything and not hearing back from places.
"Then I saw the post on Community Jobs Scotland and thought I'll go for it and see how it goes.
"I got an interview here and was told I had a trial for a week.
"I did the trial then got offered the job." Edel hopes to continue working at the boat building school once she has completed her course, and wants to encourage more women to join the trade.
She has mainly worked with wood, having helped build three skiff rowing boats, but she will also be trained in metal work, fibre glass and engine work.
And she said she enjoys building boats because she loves "going from having nothing to something at the end".
Edel said: "It's wonderful to be both the first apprentice and first female apprentice to take up the modern apprenticeship in boat building and repair.
"A few years ago I was studying to become a hairdresser and now I'm on my way to becoming a fully qualified boat builder.
"It's amazing to think my life has changed so much.
"I'd definitely recommend it, it's a challenge but a good challenge." The Scottish Maritime Museum is home to some of Scotland's most important historic vessels, including the MV Spartan, the only surviving Scottish-built 'puffer', MV Kyles, the oldest Clydebuilt vessel still afloat in the UK, and Sy Carola, possibly the oldest seagoing steam yacht in the world.
Upcoming restoration projects include the 1884 Vagrant, the oldest known William Fife yacht and thought to be the oldest surviving Clyde-built racing yacht.
David Mann, director of the Scottish Maritime Museum, said: "The Scottish Maritime Museum is committed to supporting the community and this includes skills training and employment particularly through the Scottish Boat Building School.
"We have been a passionate advocate for this much-needed modern apprenticeship in boat building and repair.
"We're delighted that it is now up and running and we can begin to help ensure, as a country, we retain our centuries old traditional boat building skills before they disappear." Martin Hughes, manager of the Scottish Boat Building School, said: "We are thrilled to welcome Scotland's first modern apprentice in boat building and repair to the Scottish Boat Building School.
"Boat building is traditionally largely a male oriented field so we are particularly excited that Edel is the first apprentice.
"Edel was an exceptional candidate for the role.
"She has a wonderful can-do attitude and has proven herself over the past year to have a real aptitude for boat building."