Rescue package for Scottish fishermen's training courses – Fishupdate.com

Rescue package for Scottish fishermen’s training courses Published:  22 June, 2006

FISHERMEN’S training at a Scottish college has been saved, it was revealed this afternoon.

George MacRae, the chairman of the board of management at Banff and Buchan College in Fraserburgh and secretary of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association,told Fishupdate that the decision to end the training at the college had been reversed.

He went on: “We have worked very hard with Seafish, Aberdeenshire Council, the fishing industry, the Scottish Funding Council and the Scottish rural affairs department SEERAD and we have succeeded in pulling together a financial package.”

Training had been due to stop on June 30 but it was highly significant that it would continue into the future due in large part to assistance from the Scottish Funding Council strategic change fund designed to allow training to continue for an industry which was strategically important to an area.

Important training course developments would be carried out including the development of a new third strand of fishery training but in the meantime, existing training provision would carry on during 2006/7. That would incur a financial deficit which would be underpinned by Aberdeenshire Council in conjunction with various other bodies including the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association.

Mr MacRae added: “I think this development is another example of growing confidence in the industry. The industry is moving forward but it needs the highly professional and meaningful training provision which is now secured at the college.”

The objective was to develop a programme of user friendly courses to encourage both young people to come into the industry but also to allow others already in the industry to advance their careers.

Meanwhile Mr MacRae said he wanted to pay special tribute to Scottish fisheries minister Ross Finnie for his support and efforts during a difficult time for the college plus the “massive “ support from officials at SEERAD.

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond MP and fellow nationalist MSP Stewart Stevenson welcomed the response to their calls for funding to be provided that would ensure the continuity of fishing related training courses.

Commenting from Westminster, Mr Salmond said:

“I am extremely pleased to hear that Banff & Buchan College has now been assured of the funding that will be required to securing the immediate continuity of fishing related training at the College – and I congratulate everybody involved.

“We have all been working extremely hard to enable this to come about. We do, however, intend to continue with our dialogue between Banff & Buchan College and the Scottish Funding Council to ensure the long term sustainability of these courses – and to address the general question of funding for the rural colleges.

“Stewart Stevenson and I are due to hold a meeting with the Chairman of the Scottish Funding Council at Banff & Buchan College on July 4, at which we will discuss these proposals in detail, with a view to ensuring that we do not have a repetition of such a crisis.”

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