An increasing demand for fishing harvesting training in Canada is being driven by younger participants and the availability of online learning says the head of the Marine Institute’s Community Based Education Delivery (CBED) department.
“Fish harvesting training is definitely vital to an evolving industry and we are seeing more and younger students overall in online and traditional delivery programs in Newfoundland and Labrador and across Canada,” explained Craig Parsons.
“There was an unprecedented number of students with an average age of 35 years old participating in Marine Institute courses in the province.”
In 2018, more than 150 students across Canada engaged in Fishing Masters training through the Marine Institute. That’s almost four times the number of students who were enroled in Fishing Masters programs eight years ago.
This past year, programs were delivered at the Marine Institute campus in St. John’s, along with those offered in five rural communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Other programs were delivered in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Hay River, Northwest Territories and Wheatley, Ontario.
“We are trying to meet the demand wherever possible so fish harvesters can complete their training close to their communities and when they are available during the off season,” says Parsons. “Certification is essential and we want that training to be as accessible as possible.”
Parsons says that accessibility improved with the introduction of online and blended learning options.
First piloted in 2011 by the Marine Institute, 10 students took part in the initial online offering that prepared participants for Transport Canada examinations.
“Over the last year, we doubled our registrations in online enrolment. We’re now teaching students across the country largely because registration for online courses is open throughout the academic year and students can complete the curriculum at their pace,” says Parsons.
Courses, including chartwork, navigation safety, stability and general ship knowledge, can be facilitated in an online program with Marine Institute instructors.
“With more of the courses now offered online for the higher classes of Fishing Master certification, this sets up well for younger participants to progress to Fishing Masters II and I as required.”
CBED also delivers the Fishing Masters IV course in a blended approach. Recently, 10 fish harvesters in Ontario completed four courses online and then participated in Simulated Electronic Navigation Limited (SEN-L) and Radio Operator’s Certificate — Maritime Commercial (ROC-MC) training onsite in a more traditional classroom setting. Marine Institute instructors also provided mentoring to the students to assist with their final oral examination.
New Online Offerings
With the introduction of the international Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F) and the realignment of certificates to better serve the industry, CBED fully expects increased and more comprehensive training programs to play an important role well into the future.
Parsons says the Marine Institute is working towards a new online curriculum to address new training requirements for these regulations in both the domestic stream of certificates as well as the international STCW-F certificates. This will continue to include, working in the communities, delivering courses online and making training available where and when possible.
For Information on Fishing Masters training, and to register, contact the Community Based Education Delivery department at (709) 778-0623 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.