Fathom: getting below the surface of the UK fishing industry.

Fathom 22: Trailblazing a pathway for young careers at sea

August 11, 2020 Paul Trebilcock
Fathom: getting below the surface of the UK fishing industry.
Fathom 22: Trailblazing a pathway for young careers at sea
Show Notes

We release this episode of Fathom on International Youth Day, to celebrate and share the hard work, creativity and forward-looking energy of CFPO Youth Board, who over the past year have been helping to lay the groundwork for the first-ever Commercial Fishing Apprenticeship Standard. 

The world can be a daunting and uncertain place for young people leaving school. For those with hands-on skills, the education system in the UK often feels geared toward academia and university, offering little vocational support for those seeking practical careers such as fishing. Meanwhile, the fishing industry is experiencing a dearth of young entrants: the average age of a fisherman is 57. 

In Episode 22, podcast hosts Paul and Chris revisit the Commercial Fishing Apprenticeship Standard being created by the CFPO and its Youth Board, in partnership with the Institute for Apprenticeships. Work on the apprenticeship began in September of 2019 and is now well beyond the halfway mark, with Youth Board members currently exploring possibilities for an end-point assessment. 

We explore the organic, collaborative, and on-the-ground process that has gone on behind the scenes to ensure the apprenticeship is rooted in the needs of the industry, rather than simply handed down from above. Both young and old have had their voices heard, from vessel owners with years of experience at sea, to 14-year-olds who are leaving school ripe with aspirations and concerns for the future. 

The episode also features interviews with two young successful fishermen, Brax and Joel, who share their stories and experiences of the fishing industry. Whilst Brax worked his way up to be a vessel owner and skipper at a young age, he shares his thoughts on the financial, cultural and practical barriers that prevent young people from fishing.  

Fishing has traditionally been handed down through generations, but as the world moves away from professions rooted in family and birthplace, and leaving school at 16 is no longer an option, the apprenticeship represents a pivotal, crucial opportunity by carving out a clear pathway for young people to start a fishing career. 

The future of fishing is dependent on young people coming through and taking over,’ says podcast host Chris, ‘Without that next generation of skippers the future won’t be great. But hearing the enthusiasm from the work we’re doing on this apprenticeship scheme, the future looks bright.’ 

Fathom hosts

Paul Trebilcock
Chris Ranford

Fathom guests
Brackan Pearce, skipper in Newlyn 
Joel Dunn

CFPO Youth Board
Apprenticeship Press Release