I think most people would agree it is the right course for anyone new to ribs. If your main activity will be waterskiing or diving then you might consider the specific courses for boat handling in those areas instead. Much of the course is similar but with extra bits for those disciplines.
I can't help with a local recommendation for a "school" but I can suggest a few things to think about based on my experience when looking for a school a few years back, and when looking at other training (sailing) before that.
In theory RYA schools all train to the same standard. Innevitably some schools are better than others and some instructors are better than others. The very cheapest will probably be a sailing club
- typically they will run PB2 courses as part of their training for safety boat crew for dinghy fleets etc. Usually you'll be in a large class, possibly with a limited range of boats to choose from. To qualify for entry on the course you may need to be a member, and you may need to volunteer to do some safety boat work. My perception is the training is probably likely to be more variable in standard than other courses. The instructor is likely to be a weekend boater, who often but not always is more interested in sailing than powerboats, and in many cases will not drive ribs beyond the locality of the club - so if you are planning on cruising then the extra knowledge you will pick up from the course (i.e. the stuff thats not on the official syllabus) will be less relevant. The instructor may only run one or two courses a year.
The next cheapest is likely to be a council/charity/sports council run outdoor centre
/ training venue. Here you will typically be in a big class. You may
get more opportunity to use a range of boats, but you may also find that most of the boats in the fleet are either identical or very similar. There will be no need to join a club or volunteer to do safety boat duties. The instructors are likely to be professional instructors teaching much of the time. However they may well be sailing instructors, canoe instructors, mountain bike leaders, and climbing instructors too - so "powerboating" may only be a small part of the skill set they offer. From what I've seen the instructors tend to be younger (not necessarily an issue), their attitude is possibly more variable - some do it for the love, some do it for a summer job!
Then you may consider a professional sailing school
a number of schools offer both sailing and powerboat classes. This is likely to be a much smaller class than at an outdoor centre. Its likely to cost more. Some schools are very much a sailing school which offer a bit of powerboat on the side, others are much more general/cross skilled. Usually a school will have a small number of instructors who do RYA training of some sort every day and so are very experienced (that doesn't necessarily make them great!). Other schools are dedicated powerboat schools
- these people are likely to spend several days a week on RIBs, likely to have quite wide experience of cruising ribs - if you pick the right school they'll be open to the possibility of one-to-one training and/or using your boat for some of the course. In many cases there will only be one or two instructors - this is good because they are usually very experienced, and good things you hear about the school are likely to be directly attributable to the instructor you will get. On the downside small schools are likely to have a limited fleet of boats, and any technical issues with a boat might cause big disruption for the course.
So the general questions are:
- Who will be teaching you?
- How many students in the class? (don't just accept a student:instructor ratio - anyone can quote the rule book - typically how many students are in the class - my personal preference would be max 3 - more than this will probably be spread across multiple boats which means you'll be grouping together alot for "theory" rather than doing it sitting in the boat. One to one is ideal.)
- What boats will be used?
- How much time is spent afloat? (this should be most of it - but some schools are "better" than others)
- How often do they run courses? (this tells you if it is their main work, or if it is a once a year thing)
- Do they offer intermediate/advanced courses too? (if not then the instructors are probably relatively inexperienced so not Advanced PB instructors).
Then you have to balance that all against cost / convenience etc.