Close-knit Grimsby and Humber processing industry grows seafood talent pool

Members of the Made Great in Grimsby coalition.

The epicenter of England’s seafood industry is enjoying a rare luxury – a wealth of skilled and ambitious new recruits available to meet the sector’s growth plans.

While the U.K. processing sector has historically struggled to optimize staffing levels amid negative perceptions about the tasks involved with the industry, recruitment challenges that increased further in the wake of Brexit and significant contraction of the E.U. worker pool, Grimsby and Humber has been bucking the trend. 

Grimsby, a port town on the east coast of northern England, and the Humber, a tidal estuary in the same region, are the beating heart of the country’s seafood-processing industry. From a skills standpoint, the region has “a lot of good things going on,” said Simon Dwyer, who represents the 110-year-old Fish Merchants Association in Grimsby.

Grimsby Institute and the University of Lincoln and the National Centre for Food Manufacturing have been closely involved with the workerforce initiatives. Work with the latter has been ongoing for the past 18 months, which will soon establish a campus in Grimsby dedicated to seafood processing training. The long-term vision is that this will form the basis of a National Centre for Seafood Processing that extends beyond Grimsby and Humber.

“They’ve got a strong track record for national centers for food manufacturing with agrifood, working with some very large organizations, so they know what they are doing in terms of delivery,” Dwyer told SeafoodSource. “We’re handholding them to make sure that when it comes to the seafood agenda, they’re doing the right thing.”

The center recently won money from

Photo courtesy of Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership

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