Home > Case Studies > Marine Design company recruits graduate designer, with support from Marine-i

Image: From L to R, Dawn McColl (Marine-i), Jack Gifford, Charlotte Monks (Jack Gifford Marine Design)

Jack Gifford Marine Design is based in a shared office space in Jubilee Warehouse Riverside Workspaces in Penryn.  As a previous winner of the Cornwall Sustainability Awards, Jublilee Warehouse, directly on the riverside, is an ideal base for Jack’s Marine Design Studio.  The business provides integrated yacht design and naval architecture services to both private and commercial clients. More info can be found at

Jack and his team work on designing cleaner, smarter yachts and keep a focus on the future whilst keeping traditional skills and designs in mind.  Jack’s studio is determined to drive environmental change through design choices and believes that the default selection of tropical hardwoods on yachts must come to an end with the thoughtful use of more elegant and practical modern materials as well as more eco-friendly forms of propulsion.

Charlotte Monks joined Jack and his team in 2018 after moving to Cornwall and completing her degree in Interior Design in Falmouth.  Originally from Doncaster, Charlotte has had a love of art and design from a young age, and although she went to a school that was recognised as a specialist in more academic STEM subjects,  her A Level Art teacher encouraged her to follow her dream to work in creative industries and helped her secure a work experience placement with an interior design studio while she was in 6th Form.  This opportunity helped Charlotte formulate a career plan and helped secure her a place at Falmouth University.

Studying Interior Design in Falmouth was another turning point for Charlotte. Realising that the location and Cornish coastline inspired her work, she decided to focus on working towards a career in the marine industry. Another work placement, this time at Pendennis Shipyard in her third year of study, offered her the opportunity to see how her naturally creative ability and the skills she had learnt and developed at University could potentially offer her access to a career in the marine industry. 

Before she graduated, Charlotte set about trying to secure herself an interesting job, working in the marine sector in Cornwall.  She started by simply ‘googling’ marine business in Cornwall and then identified the companies that where in easy reach of her home in Falmouth.  Charlotte contacted companies via email with a speculative letter and a portfolio of her work. Her tenacity was rewarded with a number of businesses asking to meet with her and she received two job offers as a result of those meetings. 

Jack was not actively looking to recruit any further when Charlotte’s portfolio arrived in his inbox.  Although her skills set is not one you would usually associate with a company of naval architects, he could see her potential and how she could potentially enrich his business. With the help of the Marine-i salary subsidy, he was able to offer her a full time job as a designer.

Jack says: “Taking on a new employee always puts an additional strain on the company’s cash flow for a few months. The salary subsidy support we received from Marine-i was a great help, affording us the breathing space to get our new employee settled in and working productively as efficiently as possible. The Marine-i team supported us from start to finish and made the process very easy”.

With ongoing support from Marine-i Innovation Manager Dawn McColl from Falmouth Marine School, Charlotte feels that she has benefitted from the project. Working at a small bespoke business such as Jack Gifford Marine Design, she can be involved in all aspects of projects from initial concept to completion. Charlotte uses her design skills to enhance the interior space of many types of craft and is currently working on commercialising an industrial barge and helping it transform into a luxury holiday home which will be moored on the River Thames.  She is also looking at the graphic design and branding of the company website and Marine-i has provided some social media training with local business ‘Oh So Social Marketing’ to support further developments.

Dawn Mc Coll comments: “Although neither Jack nor Charlotte know for sure what the next decade will bring, getting in on the early stages of such an interesting and creative business gives Charlotte opportunities that may not have been so forthcoming with a larger design company.  Watch this space…….”

Dawn adds: “Marine-i is a tremendous asset to Cornwall, with a coastline that runs over 400 miles and where you are never more than 20 miles from the coast.  Therefore, it is unsurprising that the marine industry plays such an important role in our economic development.  The marine sector is recognised as a key component of the local employment market and it is reported that there were 12500 people employed within SMEs in Cornwall’s marine sector. This equates to an impressive 1 in 7 of the marine jobs in the UK and creates £500 million of Cornwall’s GDP.

“The Marine-i salary subsidy scheme helps employers take on talented graduates such as Charlotte to help drive the marine technology sector forward.”