The research that we have conducted has concentrated on identifying the specific educationalneeds of the fishing community and to use this knowledge to develop a programme which willbenefit the target group and initiate positive change in their lives. Ab-Sea is a themed literacyprogramme developed specifically for people who are employed in the fishing industry andwhom have literacy and numeracy difficulties that such a programme could address.The research was conducted in West Galway. The methodology used was the ParticipatoryLearning and Action model which focuses on the development of a deeper level of understandingof a social community in order to identify the most authentic opportunities for change. Our mainconcern was to obtain multiple perspectives in the research process by designing a sample thatincluded existing literacy students, key personnel involved in the fishing industry, andrepresentatives from national organisations and providers of training for fishermen. Themethodologies employed were semi-structured interviews, case studies and pilot programmes.Our research has brought to light a number of issues:
A need for themed literacy courses for people working in the fishing industry wasestablished.
The programme should include a comprehensive section on computer literacy andtechnology in the fishing industry, as these were areas identified by the research asbeneficial both personally and professionally.
Careful marketing of a programme aimed at fishermen is vital. Focussing on skills basedlearning rather than literacy problems would address the social stigma of attendingliteracy classes while increasing motivation to attend.
We recommend that a partnership approach be adopted when implementing the AB-Seaprogramme. While it can be offered as a full course in itself, it also has the potential to berun as a support service to be run alongside general training courses offered by othertraining bodies such as BIM.