Morrisons is transferring an Apprenticeship Levy fund of over £100,000 to Supplytrain to help train ten new sea fishers for the South Western Fish Producer Organisation (SWFPO).

The money 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 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 deadline for applications is the 31st July and the first cohort will start their programme this September.

Morrisons has supported craft apprenticeships in its stores including Fishmongers, Butchers and Bakery roles. Over 2,500 colleagues in-store have completed the programme to date with a further 200 apprentices planned to enrol in September.

Sophie Jenkinson, Sustainable Sourcing and Fisheries Manager at Morrisons said: “The fishing industry is an important and integral part of Morrisons and that is why we’re pleased to be supporting Supplytrain and SWFPO by transferring some of our Apprenticeship Levy to help recruit and train the sector.”

Juliette Hatchman, CEO at SWFPO said: “Recruitment is a real issue across the entire fishing industry right now, with an ageing demographic and a shortage of skilled crew. A lack of skilled crew has a significant impact on the entire seafood supply chain. The catching sector is the start of the supply chain, so without boats going to sea, there is no supply chain. SWFPO members are not alone in facing challenges with attracting the right personnel. This apprenticeship is a great way to grow new talent within our industry by developing a motivated, skilled and qualified resource that the whole industry will ultimately benefit from. Not only does it improve the attractiveness of the sector as a professional and valuable career pathway, but improves safety within the sector – all of which make it a much needed and worthwhile investment.”

Phil Golding, Managing Director at Supplytrain said: “It’s fantastic to have Morrisons as a partner supporting the first ever Fisher Apprenticeship in the country. As a flexi-job apprenticeship agency, we’re excited to be able to employ and support fresh talent to start a career in this rewarding industry, and hope this is the first of many cohorts in the years ahead.”

In 2021 Morrisons acquired Falfish, a sustainably sourced seafood wholesaler based in Cornwall. To date, Falfish supply the majority of Morrisons fish and shellfish that is then freshly prepared by Morrisons fishmongers based in-store.

To apply to become a fishing apprentice through supply train please visit:

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