Saturday, January 16, 2010

IYRS to open 'Composites Tech' program in Bristol

EAST BAY — The International Yacht Restoration School will open a full-time 9 month Composites Technology Program at its Bristol campus beginning in September of this year.

IYRS says the program’s length, in-depth curriculum, and emphasis on teaching both theory and hands-on skills make this the first of its kind in the fast-growing field. The program is targeted to meet the needs of the marine industry, but graduates will have a choice of career paths since the high strength-to-weight ratio of composite pioneered by boat builders is now in demand by many industries, including wind energy, aerospace, and transportation.

“The Composites Technology Program rounds out our offerings as a technical training institute for the marine industry. The program uses the same in-depth, intensive educational model that has earned our programs an international reputation for excellence,” said IYRS President Terry Nathan.

The Composites Technology Program will be offered in Bristol beginning in September. The nine-month course gives students a foundation in composites processes, techniques and technology — from general composites that employ glass fiber and polyester resin, to advanced composites.

“This program is absolutely unique from the standpoint that it integrates all the skills needed to move forward in the emerging composites industry,” said composites executive Bob Lacovara, who consulted on the development of the program. Also helping advise the project were representatives of local composites firms including Hall Spars & Rigging and New England Boatworks.

According to the American Composites Manufacturers Association, in the U.S. alone the composites industry employs about 550,000 people and generates almost $70 billion in annual revenue.

The IYRS program is being launched on the heels of a composites industry growth spurt.

“I used to say composite construction was an infant industry. Now I say it’s a raging teenager. Composites are really coming of age now because there is a need for humanity to reduce the mass of material that we use to build things — because we are running out,” said Richard O'Meara of Rhode Island–based Core Composites.

By Bruce Burdett from the East Bay Newspapers Life Section January 13-15, 2010

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