B&FC launches head start for a career in the seafood industry

Published: Friday 8 July 2016

A new traineeship giving unemployed young people a head start in the seafood industry is being launched by Blackpool and The Fylde College.

The 15-week course, starting late August, has been designed with input from Fleetwood fish processors and the industry body Seafish to reflect the type of skills that are needed to future-proof the sector.

The programme is open to 16 to 24 year olds currently unemployed with little or no previous work experience or qualifications and it includes a work placement three days a week where students learn production skills. Depending on the employer there could also be a chance of career experience in areas such as marketing, purchasing and delivery.

Assessors and tutors from Illuminate Training Solutions, part of the B&FC family, will provide background knowledge of the seafood industry, food hygiene, manual handling and essential skills such as writing a CV and preparing for an interview.

Trainees will be expected to attend College once a week to work towards maths and English qualifications. At the end of the course students will have the chance of an interview with an employer to progress to an apprenticeship.

Those aged 16-18 will receive a bursary of £40 a week and a free bus pass. Young people aged 19+ will retain their Job Seekers Allowance and associated benefits while on the programme.

Dawn Leak, Director of Sales and Operations for Illuminate Training Solutions, said: “Fish processors, both in Fleetwood and elsewhere, are increasingly telling us of the need to up-skill and recruit more young people to future-proof this particular industry.

“This new traineeship is our way of filling that skills gap and providing an important first step on the employment ladder for those who have left school with no formal qualifications.

“We’ve worked closely with the employers involved to ensure the programme is tailored to what they need, at the same time creating significant work experience for the trainees taking part and supporting their progression to an apprenticeship.”

Fleetwood based merchants My Fish Company is one of the employers taking part in the traineeship. Director Kim Ashton said: “There is a recognised shortage of skilled filleters not only in the north-west but nationwide.

“With such a strong fish and seafood heritage linked to Fleetwood, many young people want to follow in the footsteps of a parent or grandparent with no real understanding of what the environment is like to work in every day. 

“The traineeship offers the best of both worlds, not only to employers but also to the young people. Each one has an opportunity to ensure a good fit and take a few weeks to decide whether they suit each other. 

“For employers it is almost a 15-week interview and for young people an opportunity to trial their chosen career before making the final decision of a full time apprenticeship.”

Patrick Hayton, Company Director of wholesaler Midland Fish, added: Midland Fish are proud to be supporting Blackpool and Fylde College. We are excited at the prospect of recruiting new young local people, and giving them a chance to learn and create new job opportunities in the town’s fishing industry.

“We feel it is important not just to ourselves and the industry but to the heritage of Fleetwood town and its history. We look forward to creating long term employment in our sector and feel that fresh blood could drive the town’s industry on further.”

Blackpool and the Fylde College is a Seafish recognised apprenticeship provider and both Seafish and the Seafood Training Academy are fully supportive of this traineeship. Anyone who is interested in this traineeship should contact Illuminate Training Solutions on 0330 024 1234.


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