Apprentices Create Mayflower and Frigate Replicas

22 July 2019 | Apprentices, College News, Engineering, Automotive & Marine, Student Life

Two groups of City College Plymouth apprentices have created scale replicas of The Mayflower and the Type 23 frigate, HMS Portland. The apprentices, who are employed by local businesses, including Aldermans, Babcock, Pipex px and Princess Yachts, showcased the vessels at a special presentation event held at the College on Friday 19 July.

As part of their training, the College’s engineering, welding, fabrication, naval architecture, mechanical and electrical apprentices work together in teams to create scale models out of metal with functioning parts.

This year, a group of 30 apprentices collaborated on a replica of The Mayflower that sailed from Plymouth to America, which it is hoped will go on display in The Box to coincide with next year’s 400th anniversary celebrations. They started work on this in May, allocating roles and responsibilities (from project management to assembly) and working on the engineering drawings, which formed the basis of the ship’s components. The model was constructed from stainless steel and the apprentices used a range of techniques and machinery to build the ship, from plasma cutting to sheet metalwork and welding.

Alongside this, a group of 16 Babcock apprentices worked on a replica of the Royal Navy Type 23 frigate, HMS Portland. This was constructed from aluminium and is a water-tight, working model, fitted with an electrical motor. This replica will be used for outreach STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) activities in local schools. Nick Dawe, Academy Manager for Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing at the College, said: “The replica is perfect for display and STEM activities because it includes lots of moving parts, access to the inside of the vessel and becomes a STEM/refit planning activity to get machinery out and back in.”

College lecturer, Leigh McCaffrey, who supervised the apprentices, said: “They did an amazing job – these are really challenging projects and through the process the students really came into their own, gaining skills and confidence.”

If you are interested in a career in the engineering industry and would like to find out about the range of courses and Apprenticeships available at City College Plymouth, call 01752 305300 or visit

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