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Ex-seafarers get support to start own business

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A national charity dedicated to helping out of work and unemployed over 50s explore self-employment is now going to be delivering their services to ex-seafarers and their dependents thanks to funding from Seafarers UK.

This is the first time The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) has delivered a programme of activities specifically for people with a seafaring background, who are over the age of 50, and the charity is planning to host an event where local ex-seafarers in Hull and the surrounding areas can find out more about the support they can receive to start their own enterprises.

The launch event is taking place on Tuesday, 18 February, at the Maritime Museum.

Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP, who is planning to attend the event in support of enterprising ex-seafarers, said:

“The seafaring community is a valuable source of skills and experience and a scheme like this would not only be beneficial for the ex-seafarers who are unfortunately out of work but would also be positive for their families, local communities and the wider economy.”

During the launch event, people will be able find out more about PRIME and their plans to support the ex-seafaring community, including introduction to self-employment workshops, mentoring schemes, networking events, as well as business clubs, to help aspiring mature entrepreneurs throughout their enterprise journey.

PRIME is also looking to offer ex-seafarers the opportunity to enrol on business training courses, which include three classroom days spread over six to eight weeks, covering the essentials to any start-up a business, including managing accounts, understanding legal requirements and how to write a business plan.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there are 383,000 unemployed over 50s in the UK and nearly half (45.7 per cent) have been without work for more than 12 months, which compares to 31.6 per cent for 18-24 year olds.

In response, more-and-more over 50s are starting their own businesses and out of 4.2million people who work for themselves, 1.75million are self-employed and over the age of 50.

The importance of small businesses to the UK’s economy is paramount, employing more than 14 million people, with a combined turnover of £1,500 billion, and of all businesses, 62.7 per cent were sole proprietorships.

Commodore Barry Bryant CVO RN, Seafarers UK’s director general, said:

“We are excited to be part-funding a pilot of this initiative that is specifically for seafaring veterans.

“Getting people into work is an absolute priority and we hope that this initiative will support more of our veterans to view self-employment as a viable option and go on to set up their own businesses.”

Winner of the 2013 Mountbatten Maritime Award for best literary contribution and author of Deep Sea and Foreign Going: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry that brings you Ninety Percent of Everything, a book that delves into the hidden world of shipping, Rose George is backing the campaign to support ex-seafarers.

He said:

“Seafarers are a vital part of the British economy but neglected both while they’re at sea and when they come ashore.

“They have excellent transferable skills but all too often these are not appreciated ashore.

“Seafarers are a wonderful resource, and wonderfully resourceful, and both these facts should be valued much more than they are today”

PRIME’s northern development manager Terry King said:

“People over the age of 50 today are completely different to their parents and grandparents before.

“They are healthy, active and have a wealth of skills and experience that naturally lend themselves to running a business.

“We’re looking forward to working with the seafaring community in Hull and the surrounding areas and we hope our support will result in new businesses and new avenues of employment, making use of this much-valued community’s skills and experience to benefit their local areas, as well as the wider economy.”

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