case study:  Project activities delivered to Cornish Pilot Gig Association and Penzance Dry Dock (2009) Ltd by Cornwall Marine Network (CMN)

Overview of the project

The CPGA is the governing body for a rowing community of 86 clubs and over 8,000 active gig rowers. Clubs are located beyond Cornwall and the Isles of Scillies and extend across the South of England to around 11 counties. Most gigs are built in Cornwall.

The project is called ‘Energy 2 Build’. The CPGA has drawn on original film footage of a traditional Cornish Pilot Gig being built by apprentices at Falmouth Marine School for a military veterans club in order to generate film outputs to raise awareness of and promote the sector.

The project focused on marine boatbuilding apprenticeships and the boatbuilding sector, careers and opportunities for gig builders.

The project focused on marine boatbuilding apprenticeships and the boatbuilding sector, careers and opportunities for gig builders.

Sector Priorities

The Clusters project provided an ESF grant towards editing the footage and developing an output that has documented the build of a Cornish Pilot Gig. This will be used for sector education and training purposes regarding boatbuilding skills, marine skills and the promotion of the generic:

  • Marine gig building sector
  • Apprenticeship case study, with progression into marine careers
  • Showcasing a cultural story and communities
  • Highlighting sustainability
  • Benefits of a traditional sport brought into the present day to help health and well-being

Regional Drivers

The film was that successful that it generated so much interest in the build / business model. As a result, the CPGA are going to repeat the exercise of commissioning Falmouth Marine School to build a Gig boat by its apprentices to be sold to a gig club. This provides work and employment for Falmouth Marine School as well as upskilling of their apprentice boat builders. Once the boat is built the CPGA will sell the boat at a profit, which will be reinvested into the organisation, with the aim of recruiting additional employees or apprentices. For the CPGA the promotion of the film has driven an increase in traffic to their website and given more momentum to membership to the CPGA. This has provided the platform that not just clubs to be members of the CPGA, which there are 82 of them, that now individual rowers to be members as well, which there are 8,000. This increase in membership will generate a significant amount of new revenue for the organisation.

Project Delivery

What need was identified?
Securing ESF Business Clusters funding for the project was vital in producing a valuable resource which not only documents a transformative project but which has become an educational and promotional tool. In addition, support from CMN has enabled the film to address sector needs and reach new and diverse audiences.

How did the project fulfil these needs?
The editing for the ‘Wood to Wave’ film involved generating a storyboard and sequencing the footage. Music tracks were applied to various stories within the film to change pace and maintain momentum. The final draft of the film was fact checked and reviewed by key participants, stakeholders and CMN.

What was delivered?
The film “Wood to Wave” was immensely successful and popular for the Cornish Pilot Gig Association.

The premier was held on June 18th, 2022 at The Royal Polytechnic Society in Falmouth and had over 80 people attending the event.

The premier was followed by a question and answers session. This film-stimulated conversations about boatbuilding, the skills required, boat-building apprenticeships, succession planning in boat building industry, the lack of skilled labour within the industry and how and where the film can be seen again.

Business Insight, Impact and Feedback

The project has helped provide a practical setting for learners in the boat building sector who have gained real experience working on a tangible outcome which has benefited others. Participants in the project have taken newly developed traditional skills into their apprenticeship and employment settings.

The CPGA has seen an increase in traffic to website and increased PR as a result of the project. The project has also provided documentary evidence of the CPGA’s ability to produce high quality outcomes in partnership with a range of stakeholders, providing opportunities for corporate and third sector investment. The project has established an effective model for the building of gigs to generate sector benefits and also lever income through the purchase of gigs which can be reinvested in the delivery of strategic aims.

This was a fantastic project for CMN to be involved with. The project highlighted and profiled the skills of boat building apprentices and more importantly the skills gaps that exist within the industry. Currently there is no provision for delivering boat building apprenticeships in Cornwall, but CMN are working with local employers to change this. The film has highlighted the need and requirement for these skills and how the marine industry and local economy will benefit. CMN are in active discussions with their members and the wider marine industry about how to find
solutions to delivering boat building apprenticeships.

The project has also opened up further discussions with the CPGA on how CMN can help support training and upskilling of their gig member clubs and members.