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Grimsby seafood cluster lands £250,000 to help ease acute skills shortage and net future leaders

March 28, 2023

Projects to support Grimsby’s seafood cluster in building the next-generation skills base have secured more than a quarter of a million pounds.

Defra’s UK Seafood Fund has distributed a first round of investments, with the region netting one of the top awards.

The bulk of the money, £248,000, has been landed by the University of Lincoln to help "address an acute shortage of skilled junior and middle managers in the seafood processing sector". Led by its National Centre for Food Manufacturing, in partnership with Seafood Grimsby and Humber Alliance, a £331,000 programme will adapt its existing food manufacturing remit to meet specific seafood needs, while developing a new degree to aid the development of aspiring leaders in technical, operations and supply chain roles. Wider collaboration, specifically with Shetland, will further the work.

Professor Val Braybrooks, Dean at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funds to adapt our successful food manufacturing higher and degree apprenticeship offer and develop new provision to meet the skills needs of seafood processing businesses.

“The new programmes will support the development of aspiring leaders in our sustainability-led and rapidly changing sector and we look forward to collaborating with businesses and partners across the UK to fuel the talent pipeline.

“We are indebted to members of the Seafood Grimsby and Humber Alliance for their support in informing our plans and we now look forward to working together with the sectors’ employers across the country, along with our educational partner the University of the Highlands and Islands in Shetland, to deliver this flagship skills scheme for the industry and unite our clusters and seafood processing communities through it.”

It is a £331,000 project and builds on work already done in the area.

As does a second award for a pilot scheme, introducing the seafood processing sector to new entrants, while providing career opportunities.

Led by Grimsby Institute, Step-into-Seafood has been co-designed with employers and industry specialists, culminating in a “vibrant and diverse integrated five-day programme”.

It has been awarded £20,561, covering most of the £27,400 cost with the aim to create a legacy of flexible, blended, replicable training content that can be adapted and implemented in other locations.

Simon Dwyer, representing the Seafood Grimsby and Humber Alliance, said: “The Defra skills funding awards going to Lincoln University's National Centre for Food Manufacturing and The Grimsby Institute is welcome news. Both Seafood Grimsby & Humber Alliance and the Fish Merchants Association have worked closely with both organisations to have a positive impact on our seafood sector which directly employs 5,500 people.

"We're delighted that the degree and apprenticeship level provision has a reach beyond Grimsby into the UK seafood sector. The awards fall in line with the Government's food strategy that set out to work with the region's seafood cluster on skills, carbon and trade.”

Further awards have been made in London, Cornwall and Scotland, totalling more than £1 million. A second round with up to £8 million to be made available to modernise training facilities and increase access to opportunities has now opened.

Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer, who recently visited Grimsby to pledge infrastructure support from the wider fund for HSH Coldstores with its Europarc expansion, said: “Our seafood and fishing sectors are a fundamental part of the UK’s heritage as well as contributing to food security and our economy. The UK Government is funding opportunities from the quayside to the sales counter, suitable for young people as well as those changing careers.

“It is absolutely vital we invest in our workforce so these important industries prosper for generations to come.”