Support from the Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust has delivered the launch of a new apprenticeship programme designed to bring through the next generation of fishers. With recruitment presenting a key challenge to the future of the UK fishing industry and the sector facing an ageing work force, it is hoped that this programme will help develop a new cohort of British fishermen who can continue the legacy of this historic industry.
The programme, developed by the South Western Fish Producer Organisation (SWFPO) will support the first fisher apprenticeship programme in England. The 18 month apprenticeship allows students to get a hands-on experience and learn about the whole fishing operation from sea to sale.
As an apprentice, students will be employed by Supplytrain, but get to work across different boats within the SWFPO membership, catching different fish and learning from experienced crew while also studying seamanship, gear construction and how to care for the catch at South Devon College.
The life of a commercial fisher is physically demanding but immensely rewarding, providing the skills and opportunities to become an experienced deckhand, a skipper, a marine engineer or even a future vessel owner.
The programme has now secured the support of the Morrisons supermarket chain, who are transferring over £100K of apprenticeship funding to the fishing sector. Morrisons is transferring an Apprenticeship Levy to Supplytrain to help train ten new apprentice fishermen.
The Government Apprenticeship Levy is paid by employers to help fund apprenticeship programmes and Morrisons has agreed to transfer £100,000 of its funds to pay for the SWFPO’s first cohort of ten apprentices. The first cohort will start their programme this September.