The Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisation (CFPO) has announced a new grant support scheme in partnership with the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB) that will enable a cohort of fishermen to take their careers to the next level by providing opportunities to develop higher-level skills and obtain sought-after qualifications that will take them from the deck to the wheelhouse.
One of the biggest barriers fishermen face in obtaining higher level qualifications is taking time off from going to sea, but with the grant support from the MNWB, there are now funds available to cover loss of earnings, travel, accommodation and some basic living costs.
‘Working towards developing the necessary skills and knowledge to obtain a Class 2 qualification takes time and dedication – the course runs for 12 weeks,’ explained skipper and CFPO Youth Board member Joel Dunn.
‘Given the current financial climate, three months in a classroom is a significant amount of time to not be at sea earning, so the financial support from the MNWB will be a major help and certainly encourage people to take on the challenge and upskill themselves.’
Setting out as a pilot project, the up-and-coming fishermen will enrol on higher-level courses throughout 2023 to work towards their Class 3 and Class 2 qualifications. To obtain the qualifications, trainees will need to develop skills in navigation, meteorology, stability, chartwork, safety, and management, with the training taking a minimum of 12 weeks.
‘The CFPO published a new fishing strategy in 2022 and developing people is a key theme within it. Cornwall has a long tradition of producing top-class fishermen and this project will ensure we continue to nurture the talent that already exists within the industry and really help build careers in fishing. It’s not just about qualifications, this project also aims to improve people’s confidence and ambition to carry on progressing,’ said CFPO CEO Chris Ranford.
The MNWB grant funding is available throughout 2023 and initially focuses on supporting CFPO members and their crew. Anyone interested should contact the Cornish Fish Producers’ Organisation for more information.
‘We have so many talented and experienced fishermen who work tirelessly to land around 400,000 tonnes of fish each year in the UK. There’s no escaping that being a fisherman is a physically and mentally demanding job with long hours and can be unpredictable at times‘ said MNWB deputy chief executive Sharon Coveney.
‘Yet, it’s one of the most rewarding sectors to work in providing high quality fish for millions of people. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial we see more people coming into the industry as well as those making real progression. We are delighted to provide this grant that will play a major role in boosting careers in this industry at a vitally important time.’