Enrolments at the Scottish Maritime Academy in Peterhead are flourishing with an increase in total enrolments of 19% year on year.
The increase is reflective of the new and improved courses on offer at this nautical training centre of excellence.
Since the launch in November 2012 more training accreditations have been gained and additional investment realised offering more opportunities for fishermen from the United Kingdom and from international shores.
Centre manager Linda Hopesaid: “We have had a very promising start over the last 16 months. Having gained approved training provider status for Seafish and the RYA we can offer the fishing community an ever expanding portfolio of competitively priced courses, delivered via small class sizes.
“This increases the time a tutor can spend with each student. In fact many of our new clients tell us that they chose us because of a recommendation they received from a colleague. So we must be doing something right!”
The Deck Officer Class 1 and Class 2 Fishing courses remain popular and a further Class 2 course has been added in April this year to meet demand.
Linda continued: “The MCA have been delighted with the student’s results which have shown improved pass rates year on year. In the last Class 1 and Class 2 Deck Fishing examinations, over 90% of those sitting the exam passed. The calibre of our students has been exceptionally high and it is very encouraging to hear about how they are progressing in their fishing careers.”
The Scottish Maritime Academy now offers the mandatory basic safety courses on a rolling programme for those new to the fishing industry including: sea survival; fire fighting; first aid; health & safety plus the safety awareness mandatory training for experienced fishermen who have at least two year’s fishing experience. Voluntary short courses on offer include 2 or 5 day navigation courses, 2 or 5 day engineering courses, 1day stability awareness course.
In addition RYA courses now available include the RYA VHF SRC radio certificate; RYA Yacht Master (shore based) and RYA Radio courses and the RYA Day Skipper (shore based).
“The academy recently secured investment of over £60,000 for a new purpose-built ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information Systems) suite which was installed just this week,” said Linda. “This allows us to train up to nine delegates at any one time, each of whom will have access to their own individual ECDIS station using the latest software.
One of the first cohorts to use the new facility is fishermen, undertaking training on a voluntary basis on a Seafish funded programme.”
Simon Potten, Head of Safety, Training & Services at Seafish, commented: “Investing in fishermen’s voluntary training and skills development underpins our efforts to improve fishing safety.
“The facilities and range of courses on offer at the Academy are second to none.
“We are working closely with the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation to make further training opportunities available.”
In 2013 nine pupils from Peterhead Secondary School successfully piloted a 15 day Seafish Introduction to Commercial Fishing course which now runs regularly at the centre. The course is designed to give pupils a flavour of the training required on the first rung of a fishing career. This qualification now allows successful students the chance to begin a career as a deckhand on a fishing vessel or alternatively access to the new Modern Apprenticeship in Seafishing which is offered at the Academy.