The fishing industry will receive new funding from the UK Seafood Fund to train the next generation
The UK government has announced a new round of funding for the seafood industry which they believe will boost employment levels in the sector by bringing young people into it.
The projects range from practical courses in seafood preparation or manning fishing boats through to degree level qualifications.
Innovative training programmes to attract new recruits and improve the quality of training in the fishing, seafood and aquaculture sectors have been awarded funding today, Friday 10 February from the £100million UK Seafood Fund.
Recognising industry concerns over an ageing fishing workforce and with the number of UK fishermen having fallen by 1,700 over the past decade*, Defra says that it is now more important than ever to ensure entrants are equipped with the necessary skills to join the sector and understand the opportunities that are available to them.
Coinciding with National Apprenticeship Week and supporting the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy and create better paid jobs, the seven projects include pilot courses at London’s famous Billingsgate market covering technical skills such as the delivery, preparation and cooking of seafood; practical qualifications for manning fishing boats in Cornwall; right through to training for school leavers in Scotland going into the seafood industry.
A degree and higher-level skills offer for aspiring managers in the seafood industry will also be developed by University of Lincoln, whilst in Grimsby training courses will be run to attract local people into the seafood sector.
Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer said:
“Our seafood and fishing sectors are a fundamental part of the UK’s heritage as well as contributing to food security and our economy.
“The UK Government is funding opportunities from the quayside to the sales counter, suitable for young people as well as those changing careers.
“It is absolutely vital we invest in our workforce, so these important industries prosper for generations to come.”
The projects awarded funding today will receive grants of up to £250,000 to fund the creation or redesign of pilot training courses, with over £1 million awarded overall. It comes as a second round of funding for skills and training is launched with up to £8 million made available to modernise training facilities and increase access to opportunities across the UK – applications are open until 12pm on 21 April.
The pilot training courses in the first-round aim to enhance technical skills and increase knowledge on sustainability, and ensure a high quality of training for existing workers, new entrants and young people into the sector. They also promote seafood career opportunities, raise awareness of the sector amongst young people and schoolchildren, and address access barriers commonly faced by remote coastal communities.
Professor Val Braybrooks, Dean at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing, University of Lincoln, said:
‘’We are delighted to have been awarded funds to adapt our successful food manufacturing higher and degree apprenticeship offer and develop new provision to meet the skills needs of Seafood Processing businesses. The new programmes will support the development of aspiring leaders in our sustainability led and rapidly changing sector and we look forward to collaborating with businesses and partners across the UK to fuel the talent pipeline.
“We are indebted to members of the Seafood Grimsby and Humber Alliance (SGHA) for their support in informing our plans and we now look forward to working together with the sectors’ employers across the country, along with our educational partner the University of the Highlands and Islands in Shetland, to deliver this flagship skills scheme for the industry and unite our clusters and Seafood Processing communities through it’.”
Jane Lewis, Principal and Chief Executive of UHI Shetland, said:
“We are thrilled to have been successful with our bid to the UK Seafood Fund, which was prepared in close collaboration with UHI West Highland and our partners in the seafood sector.
“This project will be run through our new Centre for Sustainable Seafood and will act as a catalyst to help provide a sustainable workforce for a sustainable seafood sector. We are delighted that we can use this funding to continue to support the seafood sector, which is such a vital part of economy of the Highlands and Islands.
“Through our joint expertise in blended learning, we will also be able to widen access to reach potential students online no matter where they live.”
The £100 million UK Seafood Fund is a landmark government investment supporting the long-term future and sustainability of the UK fishing and seafood industry. Last month, the Government announced an initial £2 million investment to trial new, greener engines and help create a safer, more sustainable fishing fleet as part of the latest round of the infrastructure scheme.
In December last year, the Government also confirmed a further £30 million will be made available for infrastructure projects across the seafood supply chain. Businesses will have until March 2025 to deliver transformational projects that will upgrade ports, processing and aquaculture facilities so they are able to meet future demand while boosting jobs and economic growth.
Source: Press Release