The project answers to the need of strengthening entrepreneurial and managerial skills for the fisheries and aquaculture sector, as well as to foster both new jobs and the necessary enhancing of SMEs capacity in these sectors.
This skill needs, even with the appropriate geographical differences, are widespread and deeply rooted, both in Italy and in the rest of Europe, especially with regard to the capabilities aimed at product and market innovation aimed to positioning/re-positioning of small size companies and start-ups. In order to satisfy these needs, a priority has to be taken into consideration: enhance the attractiveness of the job opportunities within the sector addressed to skilled young people. Therefore, along with the requirements of skills for the sector, there is a potential offer of skills by young people with an expertise in economic and managerial skills and digital competencies that don’t develop into the fisheries and aquaculture sector, due to poor attractiveness of the sector and / or the lack of an adequate start-up orientation activities and professionalization (specialized training and work-based learning experiences).
The project raises in this context affected by a scarcity of skilled personnel, that in many cases contributes to a limitation to the sector growth and, at the same time, by too many gaps existing between the students knowledge and their business expectation. The theoretical expertise coming from the high level education rarely trains young people to deal with the work world. Furthermore, fisheries is generally an “old” sector more and more affected from an increasing lack of new and young workers, with a more prevalent “male” presence among workers. With the aim to mention and example, a survey carried out on a sample of fishers working in all the Italian Marine Protected Areas demonstrated that only the 0,36% of fishers are graduated, 11% has a high school diploma and 57% has a junior high school diploma (results of “Evaluation of the effects Marine Protected Areas on biological resources and fishing activities” – MiPAAF/Unimar, EFF 2012). On a side, the scarce confidence in the fishing careers by other workers and the lack of information about the possibilities existing in jobs more or less linked to the primary production, in many cases discourages young people to be interested to a “blue career”, identifying it with hard and “low level” works. In this framework, to improve the role of fisheries and aquaculture workers according to the blue growth principles assumes a primary importance. One of the gaps to be considered and filled is linked to the need of integrating the skills coming from high education and the practical expertise coming from the primary production jobs: fishers and experts are generally coming from different worlds, but, if merged on a common platform creating actual synergies, can generate emergent properties that can be translated into an added value for a sustainable production chain and employment needs.
The ENTREFISH project will provide concrete answers to the following challenges, as fixed by the Call:
- Diversify and expand the skills of people, by provide those working in the fisheries and aquaculture sector (Entrepreneurs and workers in SMEs and consortia of SMEs) with new or stronger managerial skills, for the sustainable development of their entrepreneurial activity;
- Attract higher education graduates or persons with a vocational/technical qualification to maritime professions through targeted and innovative education and/or training initiatives (including career guidance) by providing non-employed young people (graduates and undergraduates in Biology/ Environmental fields and Economy/Business Management) with professional skills related to sustainable management and business development in SMEs of fishery and aquaculture sector.
Under these general purposes, the proposed actions are aimed to fill the existing skills’ gaps by carrying out training courses and action-work-based learning addressed both to fishers and to graduate/undergraduate students, in order to:
- strengthen the entrepreneurial and managerial capacities in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, the development of existing enterprises, to the creation of new companies or SME networks;
- provide non-employed young people, having skills in the economic-managerial and/or digital issues expertise, guidance activities, specialized skills and vocational experience (work-based learning/apprenticeship) expendable in the fisheries sector and of aquaculture;
- share and capitalize, on a national and transnational level, contents, methods and results of the training-intervention, in order to disseminate the model and identify the most effective path for its sustainability (transferability, accreditation, other forms of funding, complementarities with other initiatives at Italian and European level)
- attract workers -coming from other fields not strictly included in the primary fisheries production- to maritime professions, such as support and service providers: scientists, legal experts, labour law experts, statistics data analysis and modelling, food and work safety, tourism workers, technicians, farmers and fishers each other;
- train and inform high level students on fisheries and aquaculture related matters, encouraging them to undertake a “blue career” and attract new qualified competences to “blue jobs”;
- set up durable relationships and networks between different skills, that can encourage the sustainability of the project activities: in particular, fishers/farmers, high skilled students and higher education institutions, fishers and farmers each other;
- encourage the already employed workers to diversify their activities (i.e. for activities such as fishing-tourism or tourist house-accommodation);
- share and exchange information between experts and workers in order to promote a more aware and sustainable fishing/aquaculture activities;
- attract women, a category less represented within fisheries/aquaculture sector, to primary production and/or side support jobs;
- promote process and product quality and safety and occupational health and safety.