BIM launches programme aimed at helping seafood businesses attract, develop and retain talent

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency, has launched a Talent Integration Programme, Elevate, aimed at helping seafood businesses attract, develop and retain talent. At the core of the new programme is the principle that people are an organisation’s greatest asset. The programme is being run by BIM in partnership with Grant Thornton and is supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

During an online launch of the programme on Wednesday 21 July, BIM CEO, Jim O’Toole spoke of the importance of ongoing training and skills development. He said:

“As competition for skilled people intensifies, continuing education, training and workforce development is key to talent retention and attraction in Ireland’s seafood industry. An organisation’s ability to prosper is intrinsically linked to its ability to attract and retain top talent.”

 Ian Mannix, Skills Director at BIM referenced the appetite among seafood businesses for continuous skills and professional development and said:

‘’The Elevate programme has been developed in response to feedback we’ve received from seafood businesses taking part in other BIM management development programmes to date. There’s a strong recognition and, moreover, a strong desire among the sector to equip their people with ongoing skills and training so both they and the businesses thrive.”

The Elevate programme is tailored to the unique needs of seafood businesses and forms part of BIM’s wider ambition to develop a clear skills-driven career path for the sector.

Suzanne Tanguy, Associate Director, Grant Thornton, commented on the risks an organisation can face around talent without a positive culture and the right approach to engaging, valuing and developing employees.

“People have come to expect much more than simply a wage from their work efforts. They look for organisations that share common values, offer a sense of purpose, contribute to political and social trends and most importantly create opportunities to develop and progress. These are some of the highly motivating factors that will help ensure good people stay and flourish within an organisation. These factors will also help attract new talent.”

One of the frequently cited reasons associated with the skills shortage in Ireland’s seafood industry is the often remote nature of the work in rural coastal locations in Ireland. However, keynote speaker at the launch event, Pat Rigney, Managing Director & Founder of The Shed Distillery, based in Drumshanbo in Ireland’s least populated county, Co Leitrim, drew attention to his policy of “people over process” and how it has motivated the team at the distillery and driven innovation. Rigney states that he first recruits people on attitude and potential and then develops them with the necessary ongoing skills and training. This approach has enabled the team and the business in a highly competitive environment. Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin is currently sold in more than 50 international markets.

Applications to the Elevate Talent Integration Programme are now open to the catching, processing and aquaculture sectors within the seafood industry.  This scheme is supported through EMFF funding and all participants are required to meet eligible funding criteria. For more details visit