Young salmon farming workers benefit from apprenticeship program in Scotland

Published on
March 2, 2016

More than 150 young employees in Scotland have gained experience in the salmon farming industry thanks to that country’s Modern Apprenticeship program.

The program, which is run by Skills Development Scotland, annually places around 25,000 young adults into paid, entry-level positions in a wide range of industries, including aquaculture. The program offers on-the-job training and support and degree-equivalency credits.

In 2015, 88 employees completed a Modern Apprenticeship program in the Scottish salmon farming industry and 74 additional employees are signed up to complete the 12-month program in 2016. An estimated 92 percent of graduates from the apprenticeship program stay in work after their program ends, according to Skills Development Scotland.

“Modern Apprenticeship programmes are shaping the next generation of talent,” said Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation. “Recruiting people on Modern Apprenticeships helps farmers fill skill gaps within the workforce, safeguarding business sustainability while arming the younger generation with the specialist knowledge they need to succeed.”

From Modern Apprenticeship’s 2015 class, Hayley Eccles, Lisa Askham, and Martin Mladenov were nominated as finalists for the LANTRA Learner of the Year award, which recognizes individuals with environmental and land-based aquaculture.

Eccles recently completed a Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 in aquaculture at Scottish Sea Farms and Inverness College UHI. She now works as a freshwater technician at the Couldoran Hatchery in Kishorn. Ashkam completed a SVQ Level 2 apprenticeship in aquaculture at Inverness College UHI and now works as a freshwater operative at Russelburn Hatchery, Kishorn, owned by the Scottish Salmon Company. Mladenov finished his Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 in aquaculture at Scottish Sea Farms and NAFC Marine Centre, part of the University of Highlands and Islands, and is now employed as a husbandryman for SSF.

“From an industry perspective, MAs have been key to developing a committed and competent workforce, helping to increase productivity and improving business performance,” Landsburgh said. “Investing in skills and training demonstrates we are looking after our businesses to ensure they have every opportunity to realise their full potential in years to come. Scotland’s economy continues to benefit from a highly skilled workforce using the latest technological advancements.”

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