The International Yacht Restoration School (IYRS, Newport, R.I., USA), with campuses in Newport and Bristol, R.I., announced on Jan. 6 that it will launch a full-time Composites Technology Program in 2010. IYRS' new program is the first of its kind in the rapidly growing composites field — due to its length, in-depth curriculum and emphasis on teaching hands-on practical skills and the theory behind the processes and applications of this fast-evolving technology. 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 materials pioneered by boatbuilders is now in demand by many industries, including wind energy, aerospace and transportation.
The Composites Technology Program will be offered at the school's teaching facility in Bristol beginning in September 2010. The nine-month program gives students a foundation in composites processes, techniques and technology, ranging from general composites that employ glass fiber and polyester resin, to advanced composites that employ high-strength/high-modulus fibers and advanced resin systems. The program places a stronger emphasis on advanced composites, which are generally greener because they produce less emissions in the manufacturing process.
"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. "Technical experts agree that the marine industry's increased use of advanced composites can give birth to the type of innovative products that can reinvigorate the industry; the IYRS program is designed to attract and train the inventive practitioners who can help lead the way."
Bob Lacovara, former technical director of the American Composites Manufacturers Association and founder of Pennsylvania-based Convergent Composites, who consulted with IYRS on the development of the program, said, "This program is absolutely unique — from the standpoint that it vertically integrates all the skills needed to move forward in the emerging composites industry."
To develop the program, IYRS formed an Industry Advisory Council comprised of 18 people with expertise in the marine industry, the composites industry and general business. The committee includes representation from organizations such as the American Composites Manufacturers Association, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC), and marine-industry leaders such as Hall Spars & Rigging and New England Boatworks.
IYRS is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and in 2008 was one of only five schools to receive the organization's School of Excellence designation. Visit www.iyrscomposites.org for more information.