News & Views

New voyage into ship building

25-year-old chooses apprenticeship and three years later is designing ships

Louise Larkin

Age: 26
Occupation: Boat designer, Ferguson Marine (ship builder) 
Location: Port Glasgow  

After working in a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland, Louise Larkin became disillusioned with banking which she began to view as “a dead-end job”. Luckily for her, soon afterwards Ferguson Marine – a long established ship builder on the River Clyde near Glasgow – was rescued from administration by Jim McColl, a Scottish industrialist. 

She started at the company in 2014 on a three-year apprenticeship, having previously enrolled at a local college to study engineering.

“I’d always been interested in craft and design. I found the work at Ferguson suited me very well. I’ve learned a lot about machining and fabrication but what I really like is working in the drawing office in designing new vessels.”

When she joined Ferguson’s first apprentice intake since McColl’s takeover, she was the only woman among the 15 recruits.  A year later, there were five women in an intake of 20, which the company says was partly down to Louise’s influence. “A lot of women are very focused,” she says. “They are great candidates for this sort of job.”