A HAMPSHIRE college has unveiled a state-of-the-art aquaculture building, a facility they say is unique in the UK.

The £500,000 Salmonid Rearing and Trials Centre at Sparsholt College was officially opened on Thursday, January 31 by Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine, with help from leading UK trout industry figure, Robert Hughes of Skretting.

The event also saw the college host the national launch of the new Fish Husbandry and Fishery Management Apprenticeship.

Mr Brine said: “Apprenticeships are one of the great success stories of this Government and we will be going further and faster because it has to be all about producing work-ready young people.

"The new fisheries management apprenticeship at Sparsholt is absolutely first-class and it was striking at its launch to see so many employers from the sector eager to work with the college and the impressive young people it is turning out.

"The new Salmonid Rearing and Trials Centre could not be a better facility for students to learn their trade, we are very fortunate to have this college on our doorstep.”

The 1,003m² building has been part funded by the European Fisheries Fund and the Marine Management Organisation as part of a five-year, £38million project to ensure the UK’s fishery industry remains sustainable and profitable.

Caroline James, learning manager for fishery studies, said: “Progression into either employment or continuing in education will be enhanced for our students and we are proud that we provide education and training for all levels from 1-day-a-week 14-16 year old school pupils through further education, foundation degrees and Honours degrees.”