Fish and Shellfish Apprenticeships

FAQs about Fish and Shellfish Apprenticeships (Wales and Northern Ireland)

Are there apprenticeships for the seafood industry?

Oh yes, and not just for those handling fish and shellfish. Apprenticeships are available for almost all of the support job roles in the industry including administrators, engineers, book keepers, sales and marketing. But on this website we will concentrate on those that deal directly with the fish and shellfish that earn our wages.

The apprenticeship you need to know about is in fish and shellfish industry skills (FSIS). It's part of a wider food industry apprenticeship, but that's not important. What is important is that the fish and shellfish apprenticeship is available throughout the UK (slight difference in Scotland) and that it is ideal for operatives and team leaders working in almost any kind of fish or shellfish business.

What is an apprenticeship?

Keeping it simple, an apprenticeship is a qualification made up of two parts. Part 1 is a recognised national qualification in a technical topic - in our case that is a certificate in fish and shellfish industry skills. This bit makes up almost 75% of the whole apprenticeship. Part 2 is a set of general qualifications that are the same for almost all apprenticeships in the UK.

Anyone can do an apprenticeship, but not everyone can get funding to support the delivery of their apprenticeship. The funding rules for apprenticeships are not simple and are best discussed with your local apprenticeship provider, Careers Office/Employment Adviser or someone from the National Apprenticeship Service.

An apprenticeship is a way of developing an individual to understand much more about their job role and to develop important skills and behaviors that contribute to improved job effectiveness, job satisfaction, staff retention and overall competence.

See also Improve's definition of an apprenticeship.

How can the same apprenticeship fit a fishmonger and someone who purifies oysters?

To put it simply, the fish and shellfish industry skills certificate that is at the heart of our apprenticeship is made up of 135 different units that cover almost all the activities that happen in the seafood industry, from hygiene cleaning to reception of raw materials, from smoking to new product development. To get your certificate, you will on average need to complete 10 to 12 units.

This means that out of the framework, you get to reject around 120 units as not being exactly what you want! This results in a slightly confusing, BUT very flexible qualification.

We've found that two people working in the same business in the same department don't have to do the same 10 units if there is even a slight difference in their role or experience. With a little care, the apprenticeship can be tailored to the business, the department, the job role and then to the individual. This extract explains a little more about how different types of job role can be met through the apprenticeship, but to get the full picture get in touch with afish and shellfish industry skills adviser who can talk you through process of selecting those units that can apply to your business or to you.

Fish and shellfish industry skills qualifications These Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications will form the backbone of any seafood processing or fishmongering apprenticeship in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

I'm an employer, what should I do?

If you are interested in taking on an apprentice, or have an employee that you think may benefit from becoming an apprentice then please get in touch with Seafish (L Cooper 01482 486482 or email) or contact one of the approved centres that are currently supporting fish and shellfish industry skills qualifications.

We'll talk to you about what you do in your business and give you some examples of how the Fish and Shellfish Industry Skills qualification can be applied to an apprentice in your business or even your entire workforce. You can find an information pack here.

Am I too old or too young for an apprenticeship?

Yes, and as soon as the Advanced Fish and Shellfish Apprenticeship Framework is accredited than we'll have the qualification for you. Funding and age conditions/restrictions may well apply. The Level 3 fish and shellfish certificate and diploma has already been accredited so the Advanced Apprenticeship will be available in late 2013. To view the units available to supervisors and managers in all fish and shellfish businesses including fish and chip shops,Click Here or check out the Fish friers employer guide available on this apprenticeship information pack page.

Which Centres are approved to support fish and shellfish apprenticeships?

Seafish are working closely with these Centres. Other Centres may also be approved, but Seafish and the Seafood Training Academy have not yet agreed a code of practice with them.

Is there funding available?

Yes and no. It's complicated and depends on where you are, how old the apprentice is, what level they are undertaking. The only people who can answer that question for you are your potential apprenticeship provider. They will take into account the circumstances and advise you accordingly.

There is (at the moment) various bonus schemes in place in England and Wales, and perhaps also Northern Ireland and Scotland. Some are local - e.g. Liverpool Council. Some are time limited, and this one for England is available until the funds run out.

How can I find out more?

Please speak to or email an adviser using the various contact details above, or contact an apprenticeship provider/approved centre. Be sure to look at the apprenticeship information pack here.

Further info

Scottish Modern Apprenticeships

In Scotland the equivalent apprenticeship is in Fish and Shellfish Processing Skills, and this apprenticeship is even suitable for Fish and Chip shops.

Contact the National Apprenticeship Service - 08000 150600


Please email with the following information:

  • Your full contact details including business name;
  • A brief explanation of your enquiry and how you would like Seafish to help.

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.