On any given day within the IYRS School of Technology & Trades’ Thames Street campus, students of all ages and interests may be found strengthening their woodworking skills in a restoration course working on historic sailboats, connecting with future employers through the Career Development Department, or troubleshooting modern powerboat systems – just to name a few nautical activities ferrying students into the marine industry.
The non-profit, post-secondary institution founded in 1993 as the International Yacht Restoration School has helped launch students with a passion for “learning the art and science of making, building, restoring, and maintaining” into boat restoration careers ever since, according to director of development and marketing Kim Norton-O’Brien.
“The world is students’ oyster after graduation,” she says. “Recent graduates have restored the historic American treasure Mayflower II at Mystic Seaport Museum, helped build 2021 America’s Cup boats in Bristol, work as engineers on oceangoing research vessels in the Caribbean and Pacific, design skateboard decks in California, and restore historic house museums in Newport.”
IYRS offers nationally accredited programs in Boatbuilding & Restoration, Marine Systems, Composites Technology, and Digital Modeling & Fabrication. In 6-10 months, students can earn certifications in their specialty – and relish in work made with their own hands. “Listening to their newly rebuilt engines turn over for the first time is a watershed moment for Marine Systems students and one that is celebrated campus-wide each term,” says Norton-O’Brien. Composites pupils become experts on the lightest yet strongest materials on earth, while the Digital Modeling program lets designers use 3D modeling software to bring their creations to life using industry technology.
On June 3, Graduation and Launch Day will celebrate these achievements, and in a fitting tradition for the City by the Sea, cheer on Boatbuilding & Restoration students as they launch their restored vessels in Newport Harbor. To take a self-guided tour or reserve a spot at the IYRS Summer Gala July 8, visit IYRS.edu.
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