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Government Backing to Develop New Seafish Trailblazer Apprenticeship for Fishermen

16 March 2015

UK - Seafish, the industry authority on seafood, has been given the green light by the Department of Business Innovation & Skills, to develop a new Trailblazer Apprenticeship for new entrant fishermen in England following an announcement made on Thursday 12 March by the Skills Minister Nick Boles.

A Sea Fishing Apprenticeship has been delivered successfully in Whitby for many years and has proved immensely popular. Indeed it is considered the flagship qualification for aspiring young fishermen and competition for places is tough.

However, the Richard Review in 2013 called for improvements in Apprenticeships to better reflect the needs of employers and as a result all Apprenticeships have to be re-written as Trailblazers by 2017.

This announcement gives Seafish the opportunity to secure the ongoing availability of an Apprenticeship for commercial fishermen and ensure its ongoing suitability for attracting and training high calibre new entrants - helping to safeguard the future viability of the fishing industry.

In taking forward this new development Seafish will work with fishing vessel owners, skippers and organisations including the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, all of whom are committed to keeping the Apprenticeship route open for new entrants to the fishing industry.

Apprenticeships provide a route into commercial fishing for aspiring young men and women. They combine classroom training with on-the-job learning, giving trainees valuable experience and a nationally recognised qualification.

The training covers all the duties expected of a deckhand including preparing the deck, including the use, storage and maintenance of fishing gear, engine room support, handling and stowing the catch, and keeping watch. Successful trainees must be physically fit, have good eyesight, and be able to communicate well with others.

Simon Potten, Head of Safety Training and Services at Seafish added: "We welcome this backing from the Minister and are really enthusiastic to re-develop the Sea Fishing Apprenticeship as a Trailblazer, so it is fit-for-purpose for the next generation of fishermen.

"Commercial fishing is a challenging occupation. An Apprenticeship provides the best possible route into the fishing industry for new entrants as it combines comprehensive training with work experience. Over a twelve month period it produces competent deckhands with transferable maritime skills. Many Apprentices go on to develop long and successful careers in the fishing industry."

Anne Hornigold, Chief Executive of the Whitby & District Fishing Industry Training School added: "It's fantastic to see apprenticeships in maritime occupations going from strength to strength. This backing from the Government underlines the importance of investing in the future generation of fishermen. The Whitby Fishing School has run a Sea Fishing Apprenticeship for many years and has successfully achieved national recognition for our innovative high quality training methods. It's exciting to see so many enthusiastic young people coming into the industry and a real pleasure to train them in a number of important roles."

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