The seafood industry is in a superb position to answer people's needs in all these areas: fish is a healthy, wholesome, nutritious food that's fun to eat and can be prepared and cooked in a few minutes.
Billingsgate Seafood Training School has a vital role in getting this message across.
The School offers a wide variety of courses that are tailor made to suit the needs of a wide variety of groups:
- Catering colleges
- Food Lovers
Students at the School have modern facilities at their disposal and some of the most expert minds in the seafood industry to teach them.
The Billingsgate Seafood Training School is located on the first floor of the Billingsgate Fish Market, which is the UK's largest inland fish market. Billingsgate is based in the heart of London's Dockland area under the shadow of the giant Canary Wharf Tower. The market supplies an enormous variety of high-class seafood products that is probably only bettered in the world by the famous Tsukiji market in Tokyo. This meant that there was no better location in the Country for a Seafood Training School.
The school has been established as a charitable company with the aim of promoting the awareness of fish in young people and to increase the knowledge of those people already working in the industry, in areas such as retail and catering. All commercial activities undertaken by the school will fund courses for school children free of charge.
By establishing the School at Billingsgate, anyone attending a course is able to visit the market in order to gain the broadest possible knowledge available on all the different types of fish and fish products now on offer. The market has been at the forefront of the fish industry for several centuries and the development of this unique facility will allow it to maintain its position.
The Trustees of the school have made extensive enquiries throughout Europe to ascertain whether any similar facilities exist. The result of these enquiries has established links with other countries such as Norway and Holland that are keen to send students to the School for training. It was partly due to the success of Australia's Sydney fish market seafood school, which convinced the Trustees of the need to develop a similar facility in the UK.
Due to the demise of the high street fishmonger, there are no longer real methods of training young people who wish to undertake a career in the industry. The supermarkets (multiple retailers) have attempted to fill the void but lack the knowledge, skills and facilities to train their staff to the required level.
At the same time, there has been a demise of home economics in the school curriculum. This means that young people are not fully aware of the benefits that can be derived from consuming fish products. Even those that are aware, lack the necessary skills to be able to select and prepare the products. This has resulted in a slow decline in fish being used in the household. Statistics show that people generally eat more fish when they eat out of the home due to the fact that someone else is doing the preparation. The main aims of the School are to reverse this trend by re-introducing schools programmes and industry training.
The industry in particular is extremely enthusiastic about the development of the School and is fully aware of the potential benefits offered by the School. This can be demonstrated by the range of people represented on the board of trustees (see organisational chart).
The key partners involved in the development of the School are:-Fishmongers' Company
The Company has intrinsic links with the fish industry dating back over 700 years. During this period, it has been and still is actively involved in establishing and maintaining industry standards and in educational work.Corporation of London
The Corporation is keen to see the School developed at Billingsgate Market as an educational resource for the industry and to keep the Market at the forefront of the industry.Sea Fish Industry Authority
This is a leading body for the development of operational standards, vocational qualifications and training for the sea fish industry.Billingsgate Merchants
There are 55 merchants based at the market. The benefits of establishing the School at the Market are obvious -
it has created a means of publicising the Market and the fish industry.