Cornwall Marine Network (CMN) was formed in 2002 by local marine businesses. Its mission is simply ‘To increase the prosperity of our member companies’. Owned by its member businesses, CMN’s core funding comes from member subscriptions but over the years, it has been extremely successful at securing funding to enable it to expand its services.
In 2005, CMN was awarded an EU funded Marketing grant which ran until 2007 and exceeded all of its targets. Most significantly, it supported 104 member businesses, created 224 new jobs and saw sector turnover increase by £51.8 million over a 3 year period. This was followed by other successful projects supporting member businesses and their success has now gone transnational.
Research undertaken revealed a need for training in the sector. In 2005, there was only one apprenticeship offered to young people and that was in Marine Engineering. CMN identified a need to raise awareness of the sector amongst young people. As a result in 2007, 17 new nationally recognised qualifications were launched and CMN was approved as a training provider. There was no sector skills action plan relating to training needs in Cornwall so the Cornwall Marine Sector Skills Action Plan 2007 – 2013 was written and adopted by the Learning and Skills Council. Cornwall was leading the way.
Although young people were now gaining qualifications in the sector, more work was needed to improve their employability and to raise awareness of marine careers. Cornwall Marine Academy was set up in 2008 focussing on 14 to19 year olds. To support this, an online careers resource was launched which is now available to every secondary school child in the county.
From small beginnings, Cornwall Marine Network has achieved great things. It is a High Growth Business based in Falmouth employing 21 staff, supporting 351 marine businesses and managing 18 contracts. This is just a snapshot of the many services offered by CMN. For information on their full range of services visit www.cornwallmarine.net