Shipwrights’ Bronze Medal awarded to RNLI apprentice for outstanding work

Lifeboats News Release

Stirling Taylor (23) has completed four years as an RNLI apprentice boat builder and has been awarded a prestigious bronze medal by the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights in recognition for his outstanding work.

RNLI/Dan Sharp

Stirling Taylor with his award

Each year the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights calls every known yard in the United Kingdom for nominations of all apprentices who have successfully completed their apprenticeship.

In September 2019, Stirling successfully completed his four-year apprenticeship and has since been offered full-time employment by the RNLI as a technician boatbuilder at the All-weather Lifeboat Centre based in Poole where he helps build new state-of-the art Shannon class lifeboats.

Dan Sharp, Manufacturing Manager at the All-weather Lifeboat Centre said:

‘Stirling has had a productive four years as an RNLI apprentice and has shown huge technical ability. I’m pleased the skills he has learnt during his time have allowed him to stay on in a permanent role. Stirling has shown a natural affiliation and skill with boatbuilding and he is an asset to the team who help build our lifeboats. Skilled boatbuilders are vital to the RNLI, as they build the lifeboats we need to keep our volunteer crews safe in some of the worst sea conditions as they go to the rescue of others in danger.’

His Majesty King George VI, Permanent Master of the Shipwrights' Company, in 1944 instituted a Silver Medal to be awarded to the Shipyard Apprentice of the Year and in 1978 it added a Bronze Medal for the runner-up.

For the award, Stirling was up against other nominations of apprentices in the marine industry from all over the UK and the best were selected to take part in a week-long course and evaluation. During the week Stirling’s assessments saw him tackle challenges both mentally and physically and he had to demonstrate how effectively he worked with others.

On completion of the course, Stirling, along with five others were taken to interview where they were asked questions on various aspects of the marine industry.

Not only does Stirling work for the RNLI, he has also been a volunteer crew member at Burnham-on-Crouch and Poole for the past five years, meaning he carries a pager and is ready to drop everything at a moment’s notice to go and save lives at sea.

Stirling said:

‘The four-year apprenticeship with the RNLI has taught me so many new skills. I have had the opportunity to rotate around different areas of workmanship while being able to get hands-on experience building the new RNLI Shannon class lifeboats. It really has been a great start to my career and I’m pleased to now continue full time with the RNLI.’

Due to his outstanding contribution to the RNLI, Stirling was recently asked to ring the ceremonial bell, a tradition that happens when a brand new RNLI Shannon class lifeboat leaves the All-weather Lifeboat Centre prior to being launched.

Lynne Mason, Apprenticeship and Early Careers Opportunities Manager said:

‘Apprenticeships are essential for the RNLI, enabling us to recruit and develop young people so that they have the specialist skills we need to help us continue to save lives as sea. Our apprentices are fantastic ambassadors for the RNLI and we are especially delighted that Stirling’s hard work, commitment and dedication has been recognised by this prestigious award.’


Notes to Editor:

· Stirling Taylor pictured with his award

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RNLI/Harrison Bates

The All-weather Lifeboat Centre

RNLI/Nathan Williams

Stirling Taylor in front of a Shannon class lifeboat which he helped build

RNLI/Nigel Millard

A Shannon class lifeboat powering through rough seas

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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