Defra confirmed last week a new round of funding awards from the UK Seafood Fund to support training initiatives in four institutions in England, from new deckie learners through to degrees for seafood processing managers.
Announcing the awards, Defra minister Mark Spencer also confirmed that a further £8m from the UK Seafood Fund is being allocated for a second round of applications under the scheme, which opens this week.
“Our seafood and fishing sectors are a fundamental part of the UK’s heritage as well as contributing to food security and our economy,” he said.
“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.”
Recipients of the funds awarded include the vibrant training centre in Newlyn, run by Seafood Cornwall Training, which delivers a huge variety of training courses, from new entrants to the catching sector through to Class II tickets, as well as working to promote a wider awareness of the fishing industry with consumers.
The college has been awarded £135,000 that in addition to supporting the wide range of courses already on offer will train a new generation of tutors, enabling them to become fully qualified trainers in their own right.
Elsewhere, funding is aimed at enhancing skills within the processing sector, including fostering a wider understanding of the catching sector itself, and the issues affecting it.
Funding of £231,000 has been awarded to the City of London Corporation, as it builds on the work once undertaken by Billingsgate Seafood Training School, with plans to train 350 new entrants to the fish trade, as well as to prepare trainers, set up courses and raise awareness of the seafood industry ahead of the planned opening in 2028 of an ambitious new Food School in Dagenham Dock.
The University of Lincoln, paired with Seafood Grimsby and Humber Alliance, has received funding towards a £331,000 project aimed at addressing the acute shortages of skilled junior and middle managers in the seafood processing sector.
Professor Val Braybrooks, dean at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing at the 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.”
A number of other awards have been made, ranging from £23,000 to a small processor in Grimsby through to £250,000 for training in the aquaculture sector.
Full details of the application process are available via: gov.uk and will be open until 21 April. Both catching and processing sector companies with fewer than 250 employees are eligible to apply, as well as fishermen’s associations, POs, educational institutions and training groups.
Smaller groups or companies can make joint applications to the scheme, which is administered by Defra and Seafish. If you have any queries, they can be emailed to: email@example.com
This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.