Supermarket chain Morrisons is transferring an Apprenticeship Levy fund of over £100,000 to Supplytrain to help train 10 new fishermen for the South Western Fish Producer Organisation (SWFPO).

The government Apprenticeship Levy is paid by employers to help fund apprenticeship programmes, and the money from Morrisons will support the first fisher apprenticeship programme in England.

The apprentices will be employed by Supplytrain, but will get to work across different vessels within the SWFPO membership, while also studying at South Devon College.

The SWFPO will be running a taster and assessment day for the first cohort in Brixham on 10 August, ahead of them starting their 18-month programme this September. With most of the initial candidates coming from a non-fishing background, this will give them an introduction to the industry, including an early-morning fishmarket tour, a visit to a fish merchant, and a tour of some of the SWFPO vessels in port that day. Fishing News will be there to document the event.

Sophie Jenkinson, sustainable sourcing and fisheries manager at Morrisons, said: ” The fishing industry is an important and integral part of Morrisons, and that is why we’re pleased to be supporting Supplytrain and SWFPO by transferring some of our Apprenticeship Levy to help recruit and train the sector.”

SWFPO CEO Juliette Hatchman said: “Recruitment is a real issue across the entire fishing industry right now, with an ageing demographic and a shortage of skilled crew.

“SWFPO members are not alone in facing challenges with attracting the right personnel. This apprenticeship is a great way to grow new talent within our industry by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified resource that the whole industry will ultimately benefit from. Not only does it improve the attractiveness of the sector as a professional and valuable career pathway, but it improves safety within the sector.”

Supplytrain is a social enterprise that aims to bridge the gap between employers and education. Managing director Phil Golding said: “We’re excited to be able to employ and support fresh talent to start a career in this rewarding industry, and hope this is the first of many cohorts in the years ahead.”

To find out about becoming a fishing apprentice through Supplytrain, click here.

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

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