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Deckhand Training Programme Aims to Tackle Skills Shortage in Fishing Industry

27th November 2019
Demonstration of a lifeboat Search & Rescue Radar Transponder (SART) to students at BIM National Fisheries College, Greencastle, Co Donegal. Demonstration of a lifeboat Search & Rescue Radar Transponder (SART) to students at BIM National Fisheries College, Greencastle, Co Donegal. Photo: Julien Behal

A new deckhand fishing training programme, aimed at attracting young entrants to the fishing industry has been announced by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s seafood development agency today (Wednesday, 27th November). Trainers on the programme include experienced mariners and former skippers who will provide mentoring and training in a range of areas including essential safety skills, operating a marine VHF radio, working with ropes and nets, conditions affecting vessel stability and fish handling and food safety.

Brian Vaughan, Principal BIM National Fisheries College Greencastle, spoke of the challenges facing the industry and how the attraction and retention of skilled staff is one of the biggest threats to the future of the industry. He said:

“This training is the first step for someone who is serious about a career in the fishing industry. This is an industry that’s built on skill, resilience and hard work. It’s highly rewarding and highly demanding work. You learn very quickly how to think on your feet; how to work as a team and how to safely respond to different scenarios that could affect you, the crew and the boat. This training is happening at a critical time in the history of the industry. The sustainability and the future of the industry is dependent on having a skilled workforce. The deckhands of today are the skippers of tomorrow.”

The Irish seafood sector was valued at €1.25 billion in 2018 according to the BIM Business of Seafood report. There are currently 2,127 registered fishing vessels in Ireland. The sector is a key economic driver in rural communities in Ireland. In coastal Donegal, 12 in every 100 adults work in the seafood industry.

The new Deckhand Foundation Programme is being held in BIM’s National Fisheries College in Greencastle, Co Donegal and will run for six weeks from February 2020.

Published in Fishing
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