Shipping in 2050

Students group up into teams of five, complimented with the unique expertise of engineers. They are tasked with exploring the ship, before building their own model of the Balmoral, and adapting it to demonstrate any ideas they may have to tackle the future of shipping.

Previous project groups have worked with engineers from Rolls-Royce, the Ministry of Defence, Babcock, Royal Navy and more, to design concept ships that are fit for the future. Interactive learning days are held upon the Balmoral for Key stage 3, 4 and Post 16 groups.

Workshops are broken down into the following schedule:


The programme starts onboard the Balmoral, where students form small teams with an engineer, marine architect, shipwright or sailor.


From here, teams rotate through a series of short talks held onboard the vessel, learning various aspects of shipping and vessel design. From the depths of engine room to the bridge of a 1940’s steamer, exploring a real ship gives context to the information being taught.

While exploring, they learn about the increasing strains on the shipping industry. Gathering components and instructions in each section, to build their own model of the ship.


Once the learning tour is completed, teams assess the components and instructions they have collected throughout their exploration. Together, they begin to fully piece together and build a scale sectional model of the Balmoral.

This enables them to view both the interior and exterior of the ship. As models are being built, their ideas for problem solving future ships are discussed with industry experts.

Problem solving

After this, an interactive discussion takes place to learn about the future issues that face the shipping industry. Discussing solutions to the problems learned in the discussion, teams now amend and annotate their model, in order to design & create a concept ship for the future.


At the end of the day, teams rehearse and present their concepts and ideas with their newly adapted models. Linking function to design, it enables students to visually display what they have learned. Once presented, teams have discussions and feedback with engineers.

Follow up

Once completed, industry partners follow up in schools to further develop ideas, and help them improve their models for presentation at an exhibition and awards ceremony.

Awards ceremony

At the end of the project, the final designs for concept ships proudly participate in Bristol Harbour Festival. Presented at an exhibition back aboard the heritage steamer Balmoral, students, parents and judges from across the maritime industry attend, where a winning design is selected.

Plan a Group Visit

If you are interested in learning more or wish to book a group visit to the Balmoral, please consider reaching out to us through any of the contact information listed below.
MV Balmoral
Hotwell Road

0117 329 0387

Visit our Contact page.