Report highlights career opportunities in aquaculture
‘Skills review for the Aquaculture Sector in Scotland’ was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) on behalf of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group (AILG), and in collaboration with Skills Development Scotland.
The report highlights key areas of specialism for future employees that go well beyond the boat handling, fish husbandry, fish feeding and biology skills normally associated with aquaculture.
As the sector and its supply chain grows, so too will demand for skills in engineering, digital and IT, as well as leadership and organisational management.
Training and education should be accessible to learners whether they are full time or in employment. The study encourages the industry to enhance work based learning and vocational training, and ensure this is accessible to industry employees across the country, particularly in rural areas.
The report further recommends more consistency in training to create accredited industry standards that are transferable across the sector, and the development of a digitally enabled workforce.
The geography in Scotland, and the Highlands and Islands specifically, provides a natural advantage for the farming of finfish and shellfish. The sector is already worth around £620m to the Scottish economy and supports many vital jobs in remote island and rural communities in the Highlands and Islands.
There is general consensus that aquaculture in Scotland has the potential to grow significantly in the coming years, in line with increasing global demand for fish and shellfish. One of the challenges to ensure this growth is the availability of a suitably skilled workforce to meet recruitment demands of aquaculture firms.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “This report highlights the importance of developing and retaining a well-trained and highly motivated skills force. For a sector that has a significant focus on sustainable growth in the future, it is clearly becoming even more important to be accessible and to be an employer of choice.
Morven Cameron, HIE’s head of universities, education and skills, said:
“To realise the growth potential in Scotland’s aquaculture sector we need to make sure we have a suitably skilled workforce big enough to meet the recruitment needs of industry employers.
Stewart Graham, managing director of aquaculture firm, Gael Force, and co-chair of the Industry Leadership Group, said:
“This is an excellent report born out of one of the industry’s Lead Recommendations in the Aquaculture Growth to 2030 strategy. It highlights as we might have expected, the existing incredible diversity of high quality jobs and careers in Scottish aquaculture. Importantly, the report sets out the wonderful opportunities the industry presents now and going forward to 2030 for new entrants especially women and young people.
The ‘Skills review for the Aquaculture Sector in Scotland’ report and executive summary can be found on HIE’s website at www.hie.co.uk/aquacultureskills