The Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisation (CFPO) has hosted the first ever industry-led Youth Board in Newlyn.
The focus of the inaugural meeting was to understand and develop ways of recruiting and training the next generation of British fishermen from the perspective of a young person. Ways of attracting, training, retaining and mentoring young people in to the fishing industry were all explored.
The meeting was attended by several young fishermen, as well as an aspiring fisherman of just 11 years old – part of the next generation of Cornish Fishing. The meeting was chaired by Paul Trebilcock, CFPO’s Chief Executive. Guests included the Cornwall Marine Network, the Cornwall Apprenticeship Agency, the local Fisheries Animateur and Seafood Cornwall Training representatives.
‘We have set up the Youth Board to offer a platform for the young fishermen’s ‘voice’ because we believe they can bring a different perspective to many of the challenges the industry is facing,’ explained CFPO Chief Executive Paul Trebilcock.
‘That different perspective and youthful enthusiasm can provide strategic guidance, positive thinking, and can help shape the industry they will hopefully be working in, into the future.
The two-hour meeting was delivered as an interactive workshop-style session, encouraging participants to think creatively and without boundaries.
The three key themes of the day included; engaging young people with the fishing industry through quayside career experiences, designing creative content and communications to reach a younger audience, and exploring the concept of a fishing apprenticeship and mentorship programme for school leavers.
“It was a fantastic day and I was glad to see fishermen under 30 optimistic about where fishing is going, rather than over 40’s saying what they think young people want or are looking for,’ Paul Trebilcock said afterwards.
‘There was lots of positivity in the room and it was excellent to hear new ideas about how the CFPO should be trying to create new routes for young people to get in to the industry and further their careers at sea. The range of people we had at the meeting, from Freddie age 11 up to the guys approaching 30, was really encouraging and showed us where our efforts need to be focused for the next generation of fishermen. For the longer term the UK fishing industry has to make fishing a genuine career choice and re-double its efforts on attracting and retaining new young blood.’
‘I am a young, keen fisherman myself and I want to try and get more people interested in a career in fishing,’ commented Tom Lambourn, who crews on the ring-netter Lyonesse from Newlyn, explaining why he wanted to be part of the new board.
‘Boats all around the nation are struggling for crew, and to keep the industry going we need an influx of young people who want the job. Fishing is not always seen as a desirable career, I want to help change that negative outlook and show people that it is a great job with a promising future.’
The CFPO and the Youth Board will be working with a number of industry stakeholders to take forward the action plan ahead of the next meeting in December.
Recruitment is ongoing for the Youth Board and the CFPO is encouraging anyone living and fishing in Cornwall between the age of 16-30 to get in touch with Paul Trebilcock, Paul@cfpo.org.
You do not have to be a CFPO member to be a part of the Board.