NAFC Marine Centre

NAFC Marine Centre

The NAFC Marine Centre`s core mission - since it was first opened in 1992 - remains unchanged: to support Shetland`s maritime industries. These industries are key components of the islands` economy and, in the present challenging times, that support is more vital than ever.

Company details

Port Arthur SCALLOWAY , Shetland , ZE1 0UN United Kingdom

Locations Served

Business Type:
Industry Type:
University / Academia / Research - Water Science and Research
Market Focus:
Nationally (across the country)
Year Founded:

Our Services:

  • Delivering high quality accredited and bespoke training
  • Conducting applied research and development
  • Supporting industry growth and innovation through consultancy and knowledge exchange
  • Engaging with the wider community, of which we are a part

With an ever-increasing reputation for high quality Fisheries and Merchant Navy training, our professional team of staff teach a range of courses in the subject areas of nautical, engineering and marine science, as well as developing and delivering a variety of bespoke industry-related short courses.

Applied research and development is conducted in collaboration with industry and other stakeholder partners.  Such programmes provide answers to key questions, develop knowledge, technology or best practice to help drive the industries forward.

Value for money and impact from investment in R&D through knowledge transfer is increasingly important in a competitive Europe.  As part of our mission to support industry development and innovation in Shetland and wider Scotland, we offer a range of 'commercial' services from consultancy to knowledge exchange/commercialisation of research outputs.

We also place great value in the communities that surround us and invest time and resources to reach out and engage with people of all ages so that they have a better understanding of the marine environment, its importance, and the people who make a living from it.

Our clients include the nautical, fisheries, engineering, aquaculture and scientific sectors, and other emerging industries that may contribute to sustainable development.

Our Vision is...

To be recognised in Shetland and wider Scotland as the provider of choice for education, training, research and advice to promote the sustainability of coastal communities and maritime resources in the Shetland Islands, Highlands and Islands region and wider Scotland.

Our Mission is...

To provide quality assured supports within coastal communities with high dependency on the marine environment that allow existing and future activities to be conducted in a compliant, safe, informed, responsible and modern way so as to promote social cohesion,
continuous individual achievement and economic development in a way that is sensitive to the heritage and culture of the individual communities.

Objects of the trust are...

  • To secure the establishment, maintenance and management of a Shetland Fisheries Training Centre Trust to provide formal and informal education and training in all aspects of the Shetland fishing industry including fish catching, fish processing, fish farming, marine engineering, navigation, seamanship, research and all related ancillary activities
  • To educate the public generally and those involved with the marine environment in particular with regard to seamanship and navigation, the skills required both by the Shetland fishing industry, particularly in relation to sustainable fishing, and by those involved with the sea adjacent to the Shetland Islands and elsewhere
  • To promote scientific research into the marine environment, marine renewables and a sustainable fishing industry and to use the results thereof to provide training and to promote best practice
  • To promote, protect, conserve, rehabilitate and improve the marine environment, including its animals and plant life, in the seas adjacent to the Shetland Islands and elsewhere
  • To promote and preserve the heritage of both the Shetland fishing industry and those involved with the sea adjacent to the Shetland Islands and elsewhere

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.