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Training Shetland's Fishermen - Early Days

In the decades following the Second World War there was a growing recognition of the importance of training Shetland's fishermen. This reflected not just the escalating size and sophistication of local fishing vessels, but also the increasing requirement for fishermen (from skippers and engineers to deck hands) to have formal, nationally recognised qualifications.

Navigation and seamanship had been taught in some Shetland schools for generations, and in the 1960s and 1970s special classes for fishermen were provided in Whalsay and Lerwick. A Shetland Fishermen's Training Association (SFTA) was established in 1981 but students still had to attend colleges outside Shetland to complete their training to obtain tickets.

A Fisheries College for Shetland

The Shetland Islands Council adopted the idea of building a college as part of its strategy to support the local fisheries industries. The location for the new college was chosen at Port Arthur in Scalloway (the site of a former herring curing station) and in 1988 the Shetland Fisheries Training Centre Trust was established to administer it.

Until the completion of the Main College Building in May 1992 training under the college's auspices continued, with aquaculture courses being delivered in Scalloway Public Hall and Scalloway School, and classes for fishermen in the former Iceatlantic Offices at Blacksness.