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20.05.05
Million pound boost for Cornwall marine industry

A massive marketing and training boost for Cornwall's marine industry, targeting 150 new jobs and expanding the sector's annual turnover by £13 million over the next two years, has been announced with a funded programme worth £1.25 million.

The investment has been awarded to Cornwall Marine Network (CMN), which has over 120 member companies throughout Cornwall. The majority has come from Objective One investment with support from the Learning and Skills Council, South West of England Regional Development Agency, Marine South West and Cornwall Enterprise. It has enabled the non-profit-making company to appoint its first employees, a team of four boat-owning managers, who will now accelerate a major action plan to promote and expand the industry through a variety of new marketing and training initiatives.

"The message to Cornwall's marine industry is simple,” said Alan Shepherd, CMN's new business development director. "We are here to help you in what amounts to an historic opportunity for the sector, which until now has suffered from the absence of a co-ordinated development plan for its future. Now we urgently want to hear from as many of its operators as possible so that we can support them, both practically and financially, in driving their businesses forward and expanding the skills base through enhanced training programmes.”

Mr Shepherd said CMN existed to promote and increase the prosperity of Cornish marine businesses right across the board, from boat building and marine engineering to builders of surfboards and wet suit manufacturers. "There is a serious shortage of skilled workers and the sector lacks formal training structures, relying too heavily on learning solely by experience in the work place,” said Mr Shepherd. "For these businesses to expand and prosper, they need the kind of training support which we are now going to be able to supply. The associated marketing initiatives will involve working with the companies to respond to specific needs with specialist methodology and to help build Cornwall as a place to do marine business, encouraging people to bring their boats to Cornwall and keep them here, because the county has all the services and infrastructure for the ideal marine centre.”

Cornwall's marine industry directly employs over 3,000 people at present, with its companies turning over £120 million per annum. A key CMN objective is to increase this figure by £13 million by 2007.

CMN's members currently account for over 80 per cent of Cornwall's marine sector and the new team will now aim to build membership even higher. Early steps will include forming a training advisory group, identifying specific training needs for individual members, building and implementing bespoke courses for owner-managers and running a training forum to monitor training needs.

An advisory group will also be formed for marketing. CMN will monitor consumer market research and aim to increase members' market share through encouraging and enabling joint promotional initiatives.

Mr Shepherd, who lives in St Ives, is an accountant with 30 years' business experience, including setting up his own company, Cornwall Self-Employment Programme, to give start-up support to small businesses. His new colleagues are training manager Paul Wickes, of Falmouth, who has over 20 years' management and consultancy experience and has worked extensively on European-funded training initiatives; marketing manager Tim Bowerbank, also of Falmouth, whose Orca Web Works consultancy helps local marine businesses with their web presence; and network manager Wendy Pascoe, of St Day, author of a number of books on small businesses and a former well-known voice and face as a journalist on BBC Radio Cornwall and Spotlight South West.

Marine companies wishing to take advantage of the opportunities now offered by CMN are invited to telephone 01326 377648, email: networkoffice@cornwallmarine.net or visit the website www.cornwallmarine.net.

Current chairman Roger Graffy, owner of Mylor Yacht Harbour, was the driving force behind the original establishment of CMN in 2002.

Cornwall accounts for 13 per cent of employment in the UK marine industry and the sector, including an estimated 10,000 indirect jobs, represents 9 per cent of Cornwall's employment. Forecasts suggest continued growth in the number of boats and demand for related services and provisions as a result of demographics, earlier retirement and increased wealth.

For further information contact Wendy Pascoe or Tim Bowerbank on 01326 377648 or email: networkoffice@cornwallmarine.net.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Cornwall Marine Network project through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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Editor's notes:

 

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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