Unrivalled New Aquaculture facilities opened at Sparsholt College

Sparsholt College has officially opened its £500,000 Salmonid Rearing and Trials Centre, a unique teaching facility in the UK. Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine and Robert Hughes from the UK and Ireland’s largest aquaculture feeds producer Skretting, who is also a leading figure, ambassador and campaigner for the UK Trout industry, unveiled the plaque on Thursday 31 January 2013. During the opening the College also hosted the National launch of the Fish Husbandry and Fishery Management Apprenticeship, a brand new qualification which has been developed in collaboration with Lantra.

Steve Brine said: “Apprenticeships are one of the great success stories of this Government and we will be going further and faster because it has to be all about producing work-ready young people. The new fisheries management apprenticeship at Sparsholt is absolutely first-class and it was striking at its launch to see so many employers from the sector eager to work with the College and the impressive young people it is turning out. The new Salmonid Rearing and Trials Centre could not be a better facility for students to learn their trade, we are very fortunate to have this college on our doorstep.”

During his address to the audience Robert Hughes spoke of the longstanding relationship between Skretting and Sparsholt College which dates back to 1991. He made reference to the research undertaken at the College since 2000 which has focused on developing sustainable materials for fish feed and nutrition. Some findings from this research have been published in scientific journals.

The 1003m² building has been part funded by the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) as part of their five year, £38million project aimed to ensure the UK’s fishery industry becomes more sustainable and remains profitable. The new centre will be used primarily as an educational facility but also has significant potential as a research facility and for educational development by way of feed trials and student theses, as well as supporting some local fisheries’ re-stocking programmes. The new building incorporates a small aquaculture unit to produce table fish which will increase the students’ commercial and entrepreneurial experience and there is the potential to provide training for the aquaculture industry.

The new Fish Husbandry and Fishery Management Apprenticeship is available now for those looking to combine practical work experience alongside academic study. The course is available to study through Sparsholt who worked in collaboration with Lantra (the UK’s Sector Skills Council for land-based and environmental industries) in its development.

Caroline James, Learning Manager for Fishery Studies, said: “We see this facility as an opportunity to educate and provide relevant employability skills as well as developing our research and trials basis. Progression into either employment or continuing in education will be enhanced for our students and we are proud that we provide education and training for all levels from 1 day a week 14-16 year old school pupils through further education, foundation degrees and Honours degrees. Planning and preparation is currently on-going to offer a taught Masters programme from September 2014.”

For further information regarding the new Fish Husbandry and Fishery Management Apprenticeship or any other Fishery courses offered at Sparsholt College please visit www.sparsholt.ac.uk or call 01962 776441.