Following a successful first round of interviews, 10 applicants have secured places to undertake training that will pave the way for a career in commercial fishing.

These successful applicants will now embark upon a three week introductory and safety course in June at the Scottish Maritime Academy (SMA), the maritime centre of excellence within North East Scotland College, which will then lead to a work placement on a Scottish fishing vessel. A few places remain to be filled on this innovative training scheme targeted at Aberdeenshire youngsters and those interested in a career in fishing still have time to apply.

Led by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), this pilot initiative is supported by Aberdeenshire Council, Scottish Maritime Academy, Skills Development Scotland and Seafish. Peterhead Port Authority and Sunderland Marine have provided financial support for kitting out the successful applicants with protective gear.

Derek Cardno, SFF Safety & Training Officer, said: “During the interviews many of the students showed impressive knowledge of the industry and asked positive questions regarding vessel placements. Applications are still being accepted but only a few places remain.

“I am especially thankful to those skippers who have expressed a willingness to give the new entrants their work placements and we will be matching up the right student with the right boat in due course. We are also hugely appreciative of the support from the Scottish Maritime Academy, the training provider for the three week course, who will also provide mentors for the students during their work placement.

“Plaudits should also go to Aberdeenshire Council for financially backing and supporting the project, as well as to Seafish for providing funding to run the three week course. The support of Peterhead Port Authority and Sunderland Marine has also played a crucial role in the initiative.”

Stephen Archer, Director of Infrastructure Services for Aberdeenshire Council, said: “It’s very pleasing to see the council’s commitment to this exciting programme matched by the level of demand for places – and that the calibre of the applicants is so high. Sincere thanks to Liz Petchey and her colleagues in Skills Development Scotland for promoting the programme in our schools so effectively – and to SMA, SFF and Seafish for the considerable time and effort they have already invested.”

More interviews are scheduled to take place over the coming weeks. The pilot scheme is targeted at youngsters from Aberdeenshire schools and the initiative may be rolled out to other areas in future years.

Derek Cardno stated: “There is still a huge opportunity for those individuals thinking about the fishing industry to get in contact and apply for the training. Parents who are interested in the educational pathways on offer to their children should contact me or the Scottish Maritime Academy, or visit our stands at the forthcoming Skipper Expo Int. Aberdeen 2015 on 29 & 30 May.”